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Top Feeders to News and Media

Updated June 2020

Few fields have changed more over the past decade than that of journalism. This once stable profession has been rocked by forces including (but not limited to): extreme politicization, social media, clickbait, drying up advertisement revenues, and the proliferation of citizen-journalists. Yet, certain monolithic organizations have weathered the storm and adapted to the changing milieu, still possessing a wide reader/viewership as we progress through the 2020s. Teens looking to enter the field of journalism should know which colleges and universities tend to have the strongest connections to these towering media institutions, as they may present some of the most coveted opportunities in the field.

To identify "top feeder" institutions into America’s most desirable news and media outlets, we relied on publicly available data from LinkedIn, a professional networking site featuring profiles of approximately 170 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of more than 46,000 employees across eleven of the most reputable American news outlets, including the Associated Press, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. We then constructed two lists. The first list looks at the raw number of alumni employed by these select companies. The second list looks at the top 30 producers when adjusted for undergraduate enrollment, which allows us to highlight schools that may be smaller in size, but that still send a consistent flow of graduates directly into the halls of media organizations like the New York Times and NPR.

Finally, we identified the two top employers for each “feeder” institution. The first top employer is the media company employing the most undergraduate alumni from a particular school. The second top employer is the media company with the highest share of employees from that undergraduate school. For example, NYU's first top employer is the New York Times, because more NYU (undergraduate) alumni work at the New York Times than at any of the other ten news outlets. NYU's second top employer is the Wall Street Journal because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at the WSJ than they do at any other outlet in our analysis. If a school's first and second top employer are the same, we indicate the outlet with the second highest share of employees instead. Measuring both total graduates employed and institutional share of a media company's employees allows us to identify schools offering the best pipelines to smaller yet highly prestigious outlets, such as NPR, which may draw heavily from one particular institution but wouldn't otherwise make an institution's list of top employers because of its relatively small size.

Top Feeder Rankings (by total graduates employed)

Rank (Total)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1New York University1084The New York TimesMSNBC
2Columbia University610The New York TimesMSNBC
3Northwestern University515The New York TimesNPR
4University of California, Berkeley382The New York TimesNPR
5University of Maryland378The Washington PostNPR
6Boston University361The New York TimesNBC News
7Syracuse University353CNNCBS News
8Harvard University334The New York TimesNPR
9American University320The Washington PostNPR
9George Washington University320The Washington PostMSNBC
11University of Missouri307The Wall Street JournalMSNBC
12Georgetown University301The Washington PostNPR
13University of Michigan273The New York TimesNPR
14Yale University268The New York TimesNPR
15Fordham University266CBS NewsMSNBC
16University of Southern California245CNNCBS News
17Penn State University242The Wall Street JournalFox News
18University of Florida225CNNThe Washington Post
19University of Georgia214CNNNPR
20Stanford University210The New York TimesNPR
21Hofstra University201Fox NewsMSNBC
22University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill200CNNThe Washington Post
23University of California, Los Angeles198NBC NewsCBS News
23University of Virginia198The Washington PostNPR
25Cornell University192The New York TimesNPR
26The University of Texas at Austin188The New York TimesNPR
27University of Pennsylvania187The New York TimesThe Washington Post
28Princeton University166The New York TimesThe Washington Post
29Brown University165The New York TimesCBS News
30University of Wisconsin – Madison164The New York TimesThe Associated Press


Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Columbia University610The New York TimesMSNBC
2Northwestern University515The New York TimesNPR
3Harvard University334The New York TimesNPR
4Yale University268The New York TimesNPR
5Barnard College104The New York TimesThe Associated Press
6New York University1084The New York TimesMSNBC
7Georgetown University301The Washington PostNPR
8American University320The Washington PostNPR
9Emerson College143CNNNPR
10Princeton University166The New York TimesThe Washington Post
11Hofstra University201Fox NewsMSNBC
12Stanford University210The New York TimesNPR
13Weselyan University86The New York TimesMSNBC
14Fordham University266CBS NewsMSNBC
15George Washington University320The Washington PostMSNBC
16Middlebury College62The New York TimesNPR
17Brown University165The New York TimesCBS News
18Syracuse University353CNNCBS News
19Amherst College39The New York TimesNBC News
20Boston University361The New York TimesNBC News
21Dartmouth College83The New York TimesCBS News
22University of Pennsylvania187The New York TimesThe Washington Post
23Ithaca College112CNNFox News
24Wellesley College46CNNNPR
25Duke University118The New York TimesThe Washington Post
26Willams College36The New York TimesNPR
27University of Chicago105The New York TimesNPR
28Washington and Lee University25The Wall Street JournalFox News
29University of Missouri307The Wall Street JournalMSNBC
30Boston College119The Wall Street JournalMSNBC


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