UT School of Journalism ranks third nationally

Jameson Pitts

The faculty and students of the UT School of Journalism took a break from teaching and learning how to write news stories so they could read one about themselves.

The journalism school at UT ranked third-best in the country, according to a list released this week by ranking service College Factual.

Bill Phelan, CEO of College Factual, said the rankings are determined by graduate salary surveys and data provided by the U.S. Department of Education, among other sources.

“This program produces graduates that are pretty darn highly paid,” Phelan said.

According to College Factual, UT journalism graduates can expect an average starting salary of $41,000, leading up to a mid-career salary of $70,000.

College Factual is a young company, and Phelan said metrics they have developed, such as crime rates near campuses and the number of connections between majors, produce different rankings than competitors.

R.B. Brenner, director of the journalism school, said rankings should always be treated with caution, but he is proud of the school nonetheless.

“We have quickly become one of the more innovative and well-balanced schools in the country,” Brenner said. “We’re preparing students for the digital communication world.”

Brenner said UT journalism students develop audio, video, app development and traditional storytelling skills that are just as valuable in Silicon Valley as they are with a print publication.

Journalism junior Alex Samuels said she is surprised after repeatedly seeing other rankings where the journalism school was not mentioned.

“I was kind of surprised to see us in the top three, but I feel like we deserve it,” Samuels said. “I think we have a really good journalism program that prepares you for all different realms of journalism.”

Wanda Cash, associate director of the journalism school, said the new ranking affirms the hard work of her colleagues and aligns with the results of the school’s own alumni surveys. Cash said she credits the achievement to the new curriculum developed for the journalism school in 2012, which provides students a less restrictive degree plan.

“Our grads are getting good journalism jobs right after graduation,” Cash said. “They’ve got the mobile journalism skills that this journalism news market requires.”