Friday, August 17, 2018

Anti-press rhetoric may have boosted J-school enrollment

The Trump administration's anti-journalist rhetoric has triggered a wave of pushback from the news media, as we reported yesterday, but it may be inspiring more students to go into journalism.

Though it's difficult to find hard nationwide data, knowledgeable sources at several universities told Adam Harris of The Atlantic that they were seeing increased enrollment in their journalism schools. Gail Wiggins, interim chair of North Carolina A&T University's journalism department, said it saw a 6 percent jump in enrollment from 2016 to 2017. And because Wiggins requires incoming students to write about why they want to major in journalism, the source of the bump is clear. More and more write that "They want to tell their own stories . . . they want to provide truthful information to improve their communities," Harris reports.

Madeline Purdue, editor-in-chief of The Nevada Sagebrush at the University of Nevada at Reno said the attacks on journalism make her want to be a better journalist. "I want to protect what I love by doing my absolute best work," she told Harris. And though she acknowledges that the news media aren't perfect, she and her classmates agree that "honest, hardworking" journalists do a good job.

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