On Sept. 16, The Washington Post published an article that tracked a positive correlation between Donald Trump’s presidency and the increase in journalism majors.
The article titled, “A Trump effect at journalism schools? Colleges see a surge in admissions” relates the surge in journalism major applications to the president’s term and his rhetoric of “fake news” and calling journalists, the “enemy of the people.”
Journalism thought to be experiencing a lull what with the constantly growing popularity of technology and the decrease in demand for print papers, seems to have been positively impacted by the president’s words regarding journalists and their craft.
Deirdre Yates, dean of the College of Communication and the Arts commented on the increase in journalism major applications she has noticed at Seton Hall University.
“Briefly, I certainly agree with the article and what deans in other schools are saying – journalism is a popular major in our college as well,” she said. “Our program shows a steady enrollment. We have brought on a new full-time faculty member and are now seeking accreditation with Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).”
Matthew Pressman, an assistant professor of journalism at Seton Hall, shared his opinion on The Washington Post’s article.
“I thought it was a well-reported and well-written article,” he said. “It was helpful that the reporter got statistics from different colleges around the country to show their increases in enrollment. As a journalism professor, naturally I’m pleased that more students are choosing a journalism major.”
When asked about his opinion on whether a connection between President Trump and the spike in journalism majors existed.
“I think yes, probably. It’s not that students are majoring in journalism because they see it as a way to oppose Donald Trump,” Pressman said. “But thanks in part to Donald Trump, there is a lot of excitement and controversy swirling around the journalism profession, and that sense of excitement and controversy can be a draw.”
James Kimble, a professor of communication, noted a difference he has seen in journalism majors in recent years.
“While there are the usual concerns about the long-term health of journalism, I do sense a renewed sense of mission in journalism students over the last several years,” Kimble said. “It’s a calling, and the dedication and passion involved in any calling is more visible than ever in our students.”
Kimble also commented on whether a connection existed between the current president and this surge in journalism applicants.
“The 2016 election (and its aftermath) was a catalyst in many ways,” Kimble said. “With the rise of allegations of fake news and outright antagonism between the White House and the media, more and more of today’s students seem to have awakened to the vital nature of journalism in our society. It seems to have been an unexpected outcome of our current political situation.”
Kimble said that his thinks the 2016 election certainly played a role in the rise of journalism majors at Seton Hall, but said that he believes if Hillary Clinton had become president that a similar increase would have occurred.
Madisyn Travisano, a freshman journalism major with minors in sports media and political science, said that she knew she wanted to study journalism back in the seventh grade.
“The Trump administration has really only pushed me to minor in political science,” Travisano said. “I have always been interested in politics but with the dynamics and politics of this country always changing it has made me realize how many people don’t have a voice and I want to the voice for them.”
Travisano then said whether she thought the surge was connected to the current president.
“I don’t think it is necessarily because of it yet the evidence is pretty convincing,” she said. “And it helps that this generation loves to be able to prove people wrong so why not try and prove the president wrong?”
Justin Sousa, a freshman journalism major, commented on the why he chose to study journalism.
“Although I’m a journalism major, my main goal is to become a sports journalist,” Sousa said. “Within that field, I want to be able to tell stories about athletes that go beyond the field and into the real world. Sports have a major impact on people’s’ lives on a daily basis, and I want my writing to be able to touch home in that sense.”
Sousa then said that he thinks a lot of people have started majoring in journalism because of the president.
“In an age of ‘fake news,’ I think a lot of up and coming writers are taking on this major, in an effort to show that the American media isn’t making up news,” Sousa said. “In the case that they are, these same students are looking for a way to end that or mend it.”
Rhania Kamel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.