Enrollment for student journalists is up, despite challenges in profession

Student enrollment in journalism programs is up, and jobs are available but far more varied than they were in decades past, according to this piece from the Associated Press. Student newspapers are also facing some of the same trials as their professional counterparts, but are finding ways to stay alive with sufficient support from students and faculty.

A “Trump bump” is an unexpected positive. Undergraduate enrollment in journalism programs went up nearly 6 percent between 2015 and 2018, the AEJMC said. Journalism is the most popular major for Bellisario’s incoming class at Penn State, after having been surpassed by advertising and PR four years ago…

“When Trump starts calling journalists the enemy of the people and fake news, these kids get ticked off,” Dalglish said.

Years ago, graduates beat a familiar path into low-level reporter jobs at newspapers or television stations. That still happens, but when Kelly Barnett, head of the Newhouse school’s career counseling program, scrolls down the list of jobs taken by recent alumni, she sees titles like digital editorial assistant, social media producer, video streamer, social media specialist.

Also: Quoting our own vice president, Tammy Merrett of the Alestle at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville!


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Boot camp is this Saturday!

We’re all looking forward to this Saturday’s Student Boot Camp, a day of workshop sessions with working journalists teaching the real work they do every day. We’ve got a great roster of speakers and a lot of students signed up for J-school in a day!

Learn about investigative reporting, research, freelancing, social media and copy editing, and so much more, all of it in a behind-the-scenes perspective. Then participate in a mock press conference with a real police officer, and write a story about the “incident” to compete for Amazon.com gift cards!

This year’s speakers include Danny Wicentowski of the Riverfront Times; Kae Petrin of St. Louis Public Radio; Carl Green of the St. Louis Labor Tribune; freelancers Kathleen Lees and Lynn Venhaus; and St. Louis SPJ president Elizabeth Donald, formerly of the Belleville News-Democrat. Our guest police officer will be Chief Chris Conrad of the Highland Police Department.

Best of all, it’s FREE. There is a $10 deposit per person, which will be refunded upon arrival by request (or may be donated to the chapter scholarship fund if you wish). Breakfast and lunch are provided. It’s not too late to sign up! (We can always run out for more pizza.)

The program takes place Saturday, Sept. 21 in Dunham Hall of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, co-hosted by the SIUE Mass Communications Department and the Alestle. Thanks to all our partners for helping to make this happen!

Watch the event on Facebook, but be sure to register on EventBrite to be counted!

Psst. We always need volunteers! Can you help us help the next generation? Please contact us at stlouisspj@gmail.com!

Holly Edgell speaks to the 2016 SPJ Student Boot Camp about the wonders of Google Tools

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Wow! We’re second!


I was uncharacteristically speechless when they announced that St. Louis Pro is the runner-up for best small chapter in the nation. I thought we’d had a fairly quiet year, but we’ve done good solid work and apparently someone thinks we’re doing something pretty special.

I happen to agree: I couldn’t be prouder of my wonderful board and our volunteers who help us bring training and support to the journalists of St. Louis. Part of what the national judges cited was our partnerships with other organizations, our friends at the Online News Association, Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists, Editorial Freelancers Association, TechWrite STL and the St. Louis Press Club, as well as our volunteers and supporters.

And that hardly means we’re going to keep doing the same things every year. We are working on plans to bring back Google Tools training, and if there is sufficient interest in a follow-up to our Facebook training project, we will bring Ben back for another round. We have a lot of ideas – more than we can manage! So if you have an idea or want to take point on a project for us, please contact us at stlouisspj@gmail.com!

Remember that I am live-tweeting EIJ at @edonaldmedia, and that the election wraps up tomorrow morning. So check your email for your ballot! Vote!

Thank you all for your support.

— Elizabeth Donald, chapter president and delegate

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Excellence in Journalism starts today!

Greetings from San Antonio! The joint conference of the Society of Professional Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and RTDNA begins in earnest today (there were some workshops on Wednesday, but the conference truly begins today).

If you’re interested in today’s discussions, you can follow the Twitter hashtag #EIJ19, and/or follow along my experiences at @edonaldmedia.

Now for your part! Yes, you, even if you aren’t here in San Antonio. If you are a dues-paying member of the Society of Professional Journalists, you will receive a ballot by the end of the day that gives you the opportunity to vote on SPJ leadership.

But Madam President, I don’t know anything about SPJ’s issues! you cry. Never fear. The SPJ national board is meeting this morning, which is being recorded and livestreamed here. The opening business session will take place later today as well, and likewise will be recorded and livestreamed at the link.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the organization, with the unexpected departure of the executive director after less than a year, controversy among the leadership, and an ongoing disagreement between SPJ and NAHJ on accepting Fox News as a co-sponsor of the conference. There will be votes at the final business session on Saturday that reflect some of these controversies, and I will be voting on your behalf as your delegate. Somehow we are supposed to advise how we want SPJ to move forward, and I want to properly represent your thoughts and concerns. So please feel free to contact me directly via social media or elizabethdonald@aol.com, and offer your opinions.

And please, vote in the election. But wait, didn’t you say you’ll be voting as our delegate? Indeed. At SPJ, the resolutions and decisions are voted by the delegates… but SPJ leadership is determined by general vote of the membership. You pick the president and board of directors; we vote on the rest.

The candidates will give their stump speeches at today’s opening session, so click this link to hear them speak. By 6:30 p.m. you should receive an email with a link to your specific ballot. The winners will be announced on Saturday. Questions? Problems? Here is Election Central, and there is a hotline for problems.

Warning! If you are a member of St. Louis Pro, but you live and/or work on the Illinois side, you may receive the wrong ballot. Illinois is in Region 5; Missouri is in Region 7, but we are grandfathered in to St. Louis Pro because it doesn’t make sense to be members of the Chicago Headline Club if you live in the metro-east. If you receive a Region 5 ballot, you need to contact the hotline right away to get it corrected in time to vote appropriately.

Historically, turnout has been utterly abysmal. Let’s show them that St. Louis Pro cares! Watch this space and Twitter for more updates as the conference continues. And thanks for being part of SPJ!

— St. Louis Pro president Elizabeth Donald

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