Comparing Journalism undergrad programs

(new to College Confidential, and can’t find previous answers so kicking it off with this question)
What are some ways to rate best Journalism schools? Each J-school we visit seems to be updating their programs, and trying to out-do the last we toured. This is GREAT, but how do we actually compare the programs?
I found links to RTDNA and BEA student awards, but know there are many other competitions that colleges with Journalism programs enter/win.

Do any schools other than Syracuse excel in Sports Broadcasting? (Syracuse is out of the question: cost prohibitive, isolating frigid weather, distance from major airports).
Northwestern is cost prohibative and not really a “sports” school.
Arizona State? Mizzou? or would any school with large sports program have opportunities for experience in sports broadcasting?
Suggestions for our college search are appreciated.

UW Madison has a sports communication certificate offered within their journalism program. Not sure how much of it is broadcast vs print-focused, but might be worth looking into.

Syracuse’s Newhouse is definitely more than just sports broadcasting. My daughter applied to Syracuse for a completely different major, but I tagged along when a friend’s kid toured Newhouse and I was blown away. They have all sorts of programs, including music industry, advertising, public relations… I was thrilled with the school in general when my daughter toured it for English and Education, but it was very awesome to see Newhouse. Good luck!!

With journalism, it’s all about the internships. Check to see where schools have placed students and what connections they have in their local markets. Search LinkedIn for alum in the field. I wound up choosing a small LAC over Northwestern for journalism, but the school had good local publishing connections that smoothed my path and a solid, small school newspaper that I could work my way to editor.

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I would argue, with journalism, it depends on what you want to do - not necessarily about the internships. If you want to do play by play, you have to be that person who wins the college radio job. Even if not, everyone has a phone today - and you can practice practice practice. It was Ian Eagle who noted this at a Syracuse meeting where he was asked - how do you prepare - and he said you whip out your phone - everyone can do that and practice. You see - even today - a lead announcer on Fox (who did the super bowl last night) from Willam Patterson U, for one of the MLB teams and networks - Beloit…so it’s more about what you sound like (and look like) than a specific school.

If you want to be in production - then yes, internships help. I worked at ESPN - but ultimately I wanted to be on air and so the internship that got me that gig and my time there was - not the goal - and I ended up in business.

I was a journalism student. Most schools will make you get a minor or 2nd major - and for good reason.

Some schools may have classes but not a major. As for major, TCU, Indiana, Depaul and Western Illinois have programs - but many schools like UGA, Wisconsin will have certificates.

Some students, if they are driven, might go to schools that don’t have large departments - for a better chance at on campus opportunities.

Today - journalism is often contract work, individual work (pod casts) and other things.

But if you want to do sports of any sort - your phone is your friend!!

Good luck.

Just to clarify, Wisconsin has a journalism major. There is an additional sports communication certificate, but you can in fact major in journalism here within the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. I know this because I’m a professor in the UW School of Journalism & Mass Communication, lol. I just happen to also have a S23 looking at colleges, so I’m on these boards a lot.


If my kid was interested in journalism, I’d ask them what internships their kids are getting and where are they placing after graduation. Perhaps do a search on Linkedin by the college name and the broadcasting field. See if the college has its own tv station and radio station and whether it has any coverage of its own sports on it. Ask students how competitive it is to get a time slot on the radio or on the college station. Ditto for the school newspaper…some schools it’s very competitive to get on to, whereas others are welcoming to all. (Writing sports stories is just as important as telling one on a broadcast.)

There was another student recently who was interested in sports announcing (or maybe it was sports statistics and analysis), and I suggested looking at cities with multiple minor league sports teams (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, etc). Odds are probably better that a college student could get some practice by working in the minors and working his/her way up to a spot making the announcements.

What size school is your kid interested in? Areas of the country that are desirable (or to be avoided)? Rural, suburban, urban? What’s the budget? How does your kid feel about Greek life? What kind of academic background does your student have?

By the way, this is a list of colleges that offer a major in sports communication.

And this is a link to the post with various towns that have multiple minor league teams: Best college for sports broadcast major? KU, Mizzou, OU, Tennesse, Nebraska - #7 by AustenNut

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Yes - understood - that’s why I noted that it will have a certificate - and I meant not a major.


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