Last summer, US President Barack Obama commented on the ‘winner take all’ economy of the 21st century. In the process, he made a passing comment about decline of small-town journalism jobs across the US. He said, in so many words, that he didn’t think those types of jobs were coming back. But even if this is true, there has been an uptick in the number of students enrolling in j-school around the world.

Indeed, President Obama is not the only one decrying the decline of careers journalism. In the age of social media and smart phones, we’re seeing more and more guerrilla-style journalism – everyday people on the scene recording footage, tweeting their opinions and uploading confidential documents to the Cloud. In light of these socio-economic trends, aspiring journalists around the world are understandably second-guessing their career choice.

USC Annenberg campus

Pic: USC Annenberg School for Communication.

However, not everyone sees it this way. In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, Danny Hayes addressed this very concern. He believes that talking about the supposed ‘death’ of traditional journalism gives people the wrong idea. In fact, he asserts that norms of traditional journalism are still very much alive today. They’re just playing out in a host of new media channels – many of which operate in the digital world.

To be fair, Mr. Hayes is a former journalist who now teaches political science at George Washington University. Even so, up-and-coming students appear to agree with his sentiments. In 2009, during the height of the global economic crisis (and despite the fact that media channels around the world were singing the dirge of ‘traditional journalism’), the number of undergraduate students enrolling in journalism school reached a 15-year high.

Why, in the face less-than-flattering employment figures, were so many students seeking higher-level training in journalism? No doubt, the answers to this question are many and varied. However, it is safe to say that today’s up-and-coming students in Asia and abroad understand the value of the skill set they’ll develop in J-school.

Medill Northwestern University

Pic: Medill Northwestern University.

The rise of non-traditional journalism
Even if so-called traditional journalism is on the decline, the skills and fundamentals that underpin the trade are certainly not. In fact, you could easily make the case that they are more important now than ever before. Written words are a dime a dozen in the Internet Age. A few years ago, The Guardian reported on research into the number of words Internet users encounter. The study found that, in one day, a very typical Internet user could come across (as in see, not read) nearly 500,000 words. To put that in context, that’s more words than you’ll encounter in the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

Professionals with journalistic backgrounds help us mitigate this content overload. The Sydney Morning Herald suggests that the same forces that are disrupting the business of journalism are also driving the popularity of journalism courses. Given the amount of online publishing that the average company carries out, media production teams are essential. Online audiences are always going to favor well-written content over the bad, and that means that professionals with a journalist’s toolkit are going to be in higher demand than ever before.

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Pic: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

To that end, here’s a list of the leading journalism programs for Asian students:

USC ANNENBERG SCHOOL FOR COMMUNICATION AND JOURNALISM
With the opening of its state-of-the-art Wallis Annenberg Hall in 2014, USC Annenberg significantly enhances its already leading position in international journalistic and communications studies. The university is situated in the heart of Los Angeles – one of most diverse and dynamic cities in the US, in terms of its people, places and geography. Read the full profile here…

Students at USC Annenberg

Pic: Students at USC Annenberg.

MEDILL SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
Medill is a highly acclaimed school of journalism that operates under Northwestern University in Chicago. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism, along with a graduate degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Medill is one of only a handful of journalism schools that has earnestly embraced the technological revolution and the role it plays in modern media. Graduates enter a network of esteemed alumni that includes 38 Pulitzer Prize laureates.

HONG KONG BAPTIST UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION
This university has a longstanding reputation of excellence, and its School of Communication operates one of the most highly esteemed schools of journalism in Asia. Journalism became one of the top offerings at HKBU back in the 1960s, and many of the leading journalists from the region today earned their undergraduate and graduate credentials here. As China relaxes restrictions on the press, HKBU continues to grow in popularity.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
Few schools of journalism are backed by the clout and prestige of Columbia University in the US. Columbia is an Ivy League university, and some of the most prestigious awards in journalism have been bestowed upon its graduates. The school offers Master of Science, Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Communications. Students are encouraged to view themselves as leaders in journalism and to promote change and improvement in the profession.

UNC-CHAPEL HILL, SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION
Located in North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism offers degrees at every level, and it appeals to more than aspiring mainstream journalists. This school of journalism is well in tune with trends in 21st-century media, and its programs are intended for students with traditional career goals as well as those with their sights set on public relations, marketing and communications.

University for the Creative Arts

Pic: University for the Creative Arts

UNIVERSITY FOR THE CREATIVE ARTS
UCA has more than 150 years of experience through its founding colleges, and it’s poised on the leading edge of creative studies in the UK. The school’s journalism degree courses offer high-level training in multiple media platforms, with an emphasis on strong industry links and placement opportunities. Graduates go on to work in television, newspapers, PR, the Internet and with other media companies.