While U.S. News & World Report rankings are highly respected, the last time the Report listed rankings for the best journalism schools was in 1996, when the Missouri School of Journalism won its first rank. The following is a review of the top 10 journalism schools based on the results of a study completed in December 2011 by trade publisher NewsPro via their TVWeek section.
Selection CriteriaFour hundred individuals from an audience composed chiefly of news professionals were asked to identify the top journalism schools in the US based on admissions standards; the caliber of faculty, campus media outlets and professional publishing opportunities; and the availability of internships. These criteria are designed to lend objectivity to the ranking process, although TVWeek notes that survey methods involve a degree of subjectivity to the extent that respondents are biased with respect to their own alma maters.
Top 10 Journalism SchoolsThis list is composed of major research universities, both public and private, with more than 20,000 students.
1. Syracuse UniversityS.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University in New York is home to one of the most elite journalism programs in the U.S.: the internationally recognized S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Newhouse is also among the most selective programs, with an acceptance rate under 10%. Its students have the option of earning a journalism degree up to the doctoral level. The prestigious Newhouse School has trained many the most successful professionals in the business and its name is considered a premium source of journalistic credentials.
2. Northwestern UniversityMedill School of Journalism
Chicago’s Medill School of Journalism (MSJ) is a distinguished source for state-of-the-art education in journalism, having produced a stream of notable alumni throughout its history, including nearly 40 Pulitzer Prize-winners. Medill’s Journalism Residency is a highly-regarded component, sending students in their junior or senior year to one of 150 partnering media outlets.
In 2011, MSJ established the Knight News Innovation Laboratory to support the development of new digital products and media tool prototypes. The Laboratory aims to integrate journalism into the digital economy with an emphasis on the entrepreneurial aspects of the business.
3. Columbia UniversityGraduate School of Journalism
Columbia University is home to one of the best schools for journalism in the world. The institution that administers Pulitzer Prizes and the DuPont-Columbia Award, and is a competitive and globally respected option for journalist students. Its Graduate School of Journalism (GSJ) in Manhattan was the first degree-granting program of its kind in the U.S. and is currently the only Ivy League journalism school in the country.
GSJ’s blue-blooded faculty includes Pulitzer and Guggenheim recipients, and its publications like the Columbia Journalism Review are definitive in the trade. The Tow Center for Digital Journalism offers a Master of Science in Computer Science and Journalism for prospective new media specialists.
4. University of Missouri at ColumbiaSchool of Journalism
Established as the first journalist’s program in the United States in 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri is noted for its top multimedia laboratories and multiple opportunities for student participation in content syndication—what the school calls its “Missouri Method.”
The Missouri School of Journalism offers a diverse array of more than thirty interest areas. It creates programming for the local NBC affiliate and NPR member station, and produces community news, an international trade publication and student-written zines. It also publishes the city’s newspaper, the Columbia Missourian.
5. University of Southern CaliforniaAnnenberg School for Communication and Journalism
The USC Annenberg School for Journalism emphasizes media practice across platforms and technologies in preparation for the web-driven future of the reporting profession. Its research resources include the Center for the Digital Future and the interdisciplinary Norman Lear Center, which conduct avant-garde research and brainstorm matters of public policy. There is also a popular student-run PR agency and TV news station. Annenberg boasts talented alumni like Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, winner of this year’s Pulitzer for investigative reporting. The School’s current director is Michael Parks, a Pulitzer-winning foreign correspondent and former editor of the Los Angeles Times.
6. Arizona State UniversityWalter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Offering exposure to cutting-edge media trends like 3-D printing, students at Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are trained for a sector undergoing massive technology-driven shifts. Like several other top journalism schools, for instance, the Walter Cronkite School has recently developed a program targeting the experimental field of “drone journalism.” ASU has well-developed industry connections, exemplified in its New Media Innovation Lab, where companies fund student-led multimedia research, and the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, a hub of communications product development.
7. New York UniversityDepartment of Journalism and Mass Communications
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at NYU benefits from its location in Greenwich Village and the surrounding NYC area, a global media hub. The Department’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute supports internships in numerous major news organization across the city. Ten fields of study are offered, including Cultural Reporting and Criticism, which NYU says is the only U.S. graduate journalism program proactively training the next generation of critical cultural reporters. NYU Journalism students are strongly encouraged to earn a double major.
8. University of California at BerkeleyGraduate School of Journalism
UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism (GSJ) earns praise for its robust emphasis on digital, multimedia and web skills. Prominent journalists Paul Krugman, Robert McNamara and Bob Woodruff are among the School’s recent visiting speakers.
GSJ offers a two-year Master of Journalism with 13 tracks, from documentary and photojournalism to investigative and political journalism. Students publish their news stories on three hyperlocal websites run by the program. Featured projects include the News21 collaboration between Berkeley and other top journalism schools in the US, including Columbia, Northwestern and USC.
9. University of North Carolina at Chapel HillSchool of Journalism and Mass Communication
The University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) underscores the importance of balance between the theory and ethics of reporting with emergent technology and business models. The M.A. in Mass Communication, for example, combines a more traditional academic approach with a technical one that teaches expertise in writing, editing, photography and graphic design. SJMC faculty are experienced media professionals with noted credentials spanning the full range of communication specialties.
10. George Washington UniversitySchool of Media and Public Affairs
Located in Washington D.C. just four blocks from the White House, GWU’s School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) is a popular journalism school, especially for those with an interest in political and international reporting. SMPA students have access to a rich selection of pre-professional and professional publishing opportunities and top-of-the-line equipment in areas like filming and editing. SMPA’s Director is Frank Sesno, of CNN and PBS fame. In addition to the M.A. in Media and Public Affairs, an M.A. degree in Global Communication is available in partnership with the Elliott School of International Affairs.