The Great Dividing Range

Are Universities cashing in on the decline of jobs in print Journalism?

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It’s the biggest issue on every Journalism student’s mind.. Is there such thing as a job after university? In recent years, there has been a cut to the amount of traditional cadetship programs in Journalism. In 2011, the Herald Sun offered 6 cadetships; Fairfax cut traineeships all together in 2008. Currently in Australia, we are in a situation “where young people are still interested in communication for a living but the industry seems incapable of supporting this interest with suitable employment”.

Not only is there not enough jobs for current and graduated journalism students, there is an alarming statistic that “the number of students enrolled in journalism courses has increased rapidly” since 2001. This growth in the number of students studying was confirmed by The Australian Newspaper in 2013. Nic Christensen highlighted the worrying trend in an article, stating, “in 2001, 3013 students were enrolled in journalism courses, according to the Department of Innovation. A decade later, there were 3988 undergraduate and 762 postgraduate journalism students — a rise of 55 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.”    

This rise has led to many calls that universities are, in fact, taking advantage of the lack of jobs in journalism, by over-enrolling in order to make maximum profit. This notion was confirmed by the head of the UTS Graduate School of Journalism, Alan Knight, when he stated, “if you are an unscrupulous university you have very large classes and . . . the bigger the class, the more money you make out of it.” 

Whilst this school of thought has gained considerable credibility over the last few years, a number of other experts, including Dr Katy Davies of Edith Cowan University believe that the number of jobs in the industry is irrelevant to the value of teaching journalism. 

Irrespective of whether universities are cashing in on journalism students or not, the statistics highlighted above provide a worrying tale for journalism students across Australia.

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