Medill ranked second journalism school in the nation

Paulina Firozi

Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications was rated the second-best journalism school in the country in the December issue of NewsPro, a subset of TVWeek Magazine. The high ranking led to varied responses from NU students and staff.

“It’s inarguable that we (will) always be in the top five, no matter how you slice it,” Medill professor Michele Weldon said. “No matter if it’s Missouri or Columbia or USC or Syracuse. I believe that we are excellent and above everyone else, but I’m sure they believe that at Syracuse as well.”

According to NewsPro, the results were determined by a survey distributed to TVWeek and NewsPro readers to which 438 people responded by ranking Journalism schools and contributed comments about the field in general. The magazine’s readers placed Medill behind only Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Weldon said she believes rankings and polls such as NewsPro’s are subjective. “It really depends on their methodology and how they went about it,” she said.

Mary Nesbitt, associate dean of Medill, said bias in certain magazines can skew the results of rankings such as NewsPro’s.

“If the respondents are people who work primarily, say, in the broadcast industry, conceivable respondent would tilt toward Syracuse,” Nesbitt said. “If the readership of the magazine was different, it would tilt toward another school.”

She said because the survey did not appear to randomly sample everyone in the professional world of journalism, she wasn’t sure it was reliable.

Some students believe that rankings in general are not crucial to their education.

“I don’t think it’s very important at all,” Ryan Schuessler, a sophomore at the University of Missouri at Columbia’s School of Journalism, said. “Each school and each system is different in its own way. They have their strengths and weaknesses.”

NewsPro ranked Missouri’s journalism school fourth behind Newhouse, Medill and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and just before University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

“I’ve heard that while other schools are teaching more general approaches, Mizzou is working on specializing students in one or two things,” Schuessler said. “It’s like comparing apples to oranges. They are all called journalism schools but they are doing different things.”

Medill freshman Catherine Reid, however, said she finds ranking to be important to the school and its students and was disappointed to hear that Medill was not considered the country’s top journalism school.

“I think that while the education is most important, rankings are pretty important because a lot of employers look at them and it determines how known the school is known and what the reputation is,” Reid said.

Similarly, Medill sophomore Clara Grayhack, a former daily staffer, said that when applying for jobs, coming from a well known and highly ranked school such as Medill has significant merit. She said this also gives prospective students an idea where to apply.

Alyssa Kincaid, a high school senior from Los Angeles, said she did not take ranking into account when she applied to Medill, but agrees it may be important to other applicants.

“I’m glad it can help the school possibly get more students,” Kincaid said. “But I already knew Northwestern was my first choice so it didn’t affect me.”

Grayhack added a substantial education that supports its ranking is imperative for a journalism school.

“It doesn’t matter what the number is if I’m not learning anything,” she said.

Nesbitt said she also hopes Medill will be judged based the overall value of education.

“What’s important to Medill is what our current students think of the education that they are getting, what our alums think of the education they received at Medill while they were here and importantly, what employers think of the kind of education students are getting,” she said.

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