AU’s journalism program ranked one of the best in the nation

AU’s journalism program ranked one of the best in the nation

USA Today ranked AU’s School of Communication among the top journalism schools in the nation earlier this year.

SOC was ranked tenth behind schools including New York University, the University of Southern California and Emerson College, which took the top spot. USA Today worked with College Factual to establish with the rankings, using information such as graduates’ salaries, the percentage of students at the school studying the major, program accreditation and measures of overall college quality.

“These rankings are a pretty big deal,” Professor John Watson, the director of the Journalism division and professor in SOC, said. “When people look at colleges they might want to attend, they want to go to schools that rank high. People rely on them to choose.”

Watson said that a top 10 ranking is appropriately representative of the quality an AU education in journalism provides.

“This place [AU] has been good for a long time, but people are only suddenly realizing it,” Watson said. “AU has been called one of the best kept secrets in the country.”

Washington D.C. is the news capital of the world and the city provides journalism students with opportunities they wouldn’t get anywhere else, Watson said.

Jess Anderson, a senior studying journalism in SOC and CLEG in the School of Public Affairs, said she is proud to participate in such a high-quality program.

“Journalism is changing, and it’s great to be at a school that’s trying to keep up,”Anderson said.

Anderson said that she took several journalism classes in high school and knew she wanted to pursue reporting as a career. When she was applying to college, AU’s distinction as one of two universities in the district with an accredited journalism program attracted Anderson.

“Journalism is an active major, and you learn more and get better by actually doing it,” Anderson said. “For someone like me with experience, the remedial classes like Understanding Media and Visual Literacy covered things that I already knew, but once you get to the later classes, you’re out in the field practicing for the future.”

Watson said that the journalism division has tried to move the core journalism classes further up in the curriculum to give students like Anderson early opportunities to put their passion for news into practice.

Going forward, Watson hopes to continue SOC’s success by closely monitoring the changes that occur to the field of journalism.

“We give students access to new technology before it’s standardized in the industry, so they’re already comfortable working with it when they graduate,” Watson said. “The thing that makes [the division of journalism] great is that we are agile; we meet the needs of the field right away.”

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