Jenny Hijazi, a 2017 master's grad, is working now at PBS NewsHour in Washington, D.C.
Compared to other college graduates, University of Arizona journalism majors are happier socially, feel better prepared for life, are more likely to get jobs, and are more appreciative of the professors who inspired them, according to a national study this year by Gallup.
From Feb. 27, 2017, through April 7, 2017, Gallup surveyed more than 4,200 UA alumni who received a bachelor’s degree between 1949 and 2016, and compared those results to graduates nationally.
Overall, UA grads reported more positive outcomes than other universities’ graduates, and the 97 journalism majors included in the sample expressed even more appreciation for their degree – and greater success in finding jobs after graduation.
For example, about half (48 percent) of UA journalism graduates strongly agreed that the university prepared them well for life outside of college, compared to 30 percent of UA graduates overall and 29 percent of college graduates nationally.
“No doubt about it, students work hard in UA journalism, and it pays off for them down the road,” said School of Journalism Director David Cuillier. “Our professors instill the skills and knowledge necessary for today’s journalist.”
And just as important, the school’s professors care.
About two-thirds of national and UA graduates strongly agreed that they had at least one professor “who made me excited about learning,” while 84 percent of UA journalism graduates strongly agreed. Also, while 20 percent of UA graduates strongly agreed that their “professors cared about me as a person,” 37 percent of UA journalism graduates agreed, nearly double the rate.
“Forget about ‘Never Settle’ as a slogan,” Cuillier said. “More fitting is ‘We Care.’” *
Typical of professionally oriented journalism programs, the students were less likely to be athletes, live in a sorority or fraternity, or work with faculty research projects. However, they made up for that by spending more time on extracurricular activities (working at the Arizona Daily Wildcat) and in leadership positions (editors). Most (84 percent) reported completing at least one internship, critical in the media profession.
Also typical of journalism programs, the idealistic graduates are less likely to be thriving financially (38 percent compared to 57 percent of UA grads overall), but are more likely to feel greater social well-being in their lives with 63 percent thriving in that area compared to 61 percent of UA grads and 50 percent of grads nationally.
“While money is great, what good does it do if it doesn’t make you happy?” Cuillier said. “You can still make a good living in journalism, but more important is that it is a rewarding calling. I think our graduates feel good about informing the public, serving communities, and making the world a better place.”
The survey results also showed that UA journalism students find work when they graduate – about 90 percent land a job within seven months of graduation compared to 66 percent nationally and 71 percent of UA graduates.
The results mirror job-placement research conducted by the School of Journalism.
For example, nearly all of the 93 students who graduated in journalism in 2016-17 found jobs within six months. About 38 percent landed jobs in journalism, a third went into public relations, 20 percent found jobs outside the media, and 9 percent went to graduate school.
Some recent UA journalism graduates have found jobs at Newsweek, National Public Radio, PBSNewsHour, Pac-12 Networks, ESPN, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Yankees, WIRED, and at newspapers and television stations throughout Arizona.
“Ultimately, all of this says that earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Arizona pays dividends down the road – both in a job and happiness,” Cuillier said. “That isn’t spin. That’s results.”
* Cuillier credits the idea of a new University of Arizona branding slogan as "We Care" to Dr. Paul Blowers, a chemical engineering professor who is an accomplished leader in undergraduate education on campus, promoting collaborative learning classrooms that increase student learning. The university is undergoing a new strategic plan and branding/marketing plan this year to replace "Never Settle."