What does a jobs crisis mean for journalism education? Are universities cynically tempting students onto journalism courses with the promise of guaranteed jobs at the end? Are there just too many journalism courses? Journalism lecturers, including myself, told journalism.co.uk that there needed to be a serious debate about the future of journalism education, especially given that there has been a 15.7 per cent rise this year in applications to undergraduate journalism courses. Reputable MA Journalism courses have also seen a big increase in postgraduate applications.
Set this against a dramatic drop-off in numbers of journalism jobs and the potential mismatch is clear. Not all these students are going to get jobs (although my university, Kingston, has an excellent record of graduate journalism employment, as journalism.co.uk points out).
This assumes, of course, that the whole object of a journalism degree is to get a job in journalism. As journalism lecturer Paul Bradshaw argues, this is not the case. If you want functional training, do an NCTJ fast track course.
Yes, there are almost certainly too many journalism courses. But higher education is market-driven and universities want income from students. As long as the students keep coming, universities will keep running journalism courses. The best thing journalism departments can do is keep updating and refreshing their courses to keep them challenging and relevant (see my previous post) and develop firm links with the industry. Then their graduates will be in with a fighting chance.