As Lydia Metzger, 22, talks about her unsuccessful search for advertising jobs, she tries to hide her frustration about how she hasn’t received any interviews or job offers — especially with graduation in three weeks.
“It’s different for journalism, because the industry is changing so fast,” Metzger said. “Employers don’t know what they’ll want or need.”
While many students may be faced with this same dilemma, Metzger and her peers in the journalism school have more reasons than others to stay optimistic.
Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication recently received a 95 percent accomplishment rate, according to the 2009 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication graduates. The number reflects the percentage of graduates employed, enrolled in graduate/professional school, involved in an activity related to their professional goals or have elected not to pursue those goals at this time. The survey compiled information from 86 schools with graduates who received jobs within six months of graduation.
Kathleen Richardson, director and associate professor of the journalism school, said the accomplishment rate is one of Drake’s best selling points for prospective students.
“We have made more efforts to increase internships and job placement by adding workshops for students, specifically those related to technology,” Richardson said.
The SJMC prides itself on having the highest amount of voluntary internships on campus at 91 percent, an illustration of the many opportunities the Iowa capital has to offer.
“Des Moines is a media-rich city,” Richardson said. “There are more opportunities than we have students, but it is their responsibility to make an effort to pursue an internship or job.”
Internship Coordinator Carlyn Crowe said the SJMC is doing its part in keeping students up-to-date on what opportunities are out there for them.
“I think faculty work really well with students to help them see options about what’s in the community,” Crowe said. “They are committed to helping students find those opportunities.”
During the accreditation process the school underwent earlier this year, accreditors noted in their report that the journalism school had an “unwavering commitment to instruction in the fundamentals and evolving media.”
First-year student Lauren Horsch, majoring in news/Internet journalism, said she came to Drake after talking to Richardson about the accomplishment rate and accreditation.
“Many schools that I applied to weren’t even accredited,” Horsch said. “Drake offers a variety of courses to expand our knowledge and make us more well-rounded, which is part of the reason for the school’s success.”
Many students in the national survey said professors did not prepare them for real world experiences, and the students lacked certain skills to succeed in the journalism industry.
“Drake is organized well enough that I am free to explore,” Horsch said. “I can take a photojournalism course or other media classes, which makes me more applicable to suit a company’s needs.”
Students in Drake’s SJMC said they feel privileged to have professors who are active in social media, whether they are tweeting about new local and national jobs or posting a link on Facebook to a list on “How to score your dream internship.”
“I’m constantly being challenged at Drake,” Horsch said. “You’re not aiming to be subpar; you’re aiming to be excellent.”
Are you where you want to be?
Drake bachelor degree recipients reported the following accomplishment rates:
- College of Arts & Sciences: 94.6%
- College of Business & Public Administration: 97.9%
- College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences: 100%
- School of Education: 95.5%
- School of Journalism & Mass Communication: 95%