Top Feeders to News and Media

Updated July 2022

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. This brings us to the top feeders to news and media.

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 more than 175 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of approximately 54,000 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 highlighted news outlets. NYU's second top employer is MSNBC because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at the MSNBC 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 University1110The New York TimesMSNBC
2Columbia University623The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
3Northwestern University530The New York TimesNBC News
4University of Maryland415The Washington PostNPR
5University of California, Berkeley413The New York TimesThe Associated Press
6Boston University393The New York TimesFox News
7Harvard University387The New York TimesNPR
8Syracuse University348CNNCBS News
9George Washington University318CNNMSNBC
10American University316The Washington PostNPR
11University of Missouri308The New York TimesThe Associated Press
12Yale University307The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
13Georgetown University297The Washington PostNPR
14University of Southern California280CNNCBS News
15University of Michigan267The New York TimesFox News
16Fordham University254The New York TimesFox News
17University of Florida238CNNFox News
18Cornell University224The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
19University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill220The New York TimesMSNBC
20Stanford University218The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
21Hofstra University217Fox NewsMSNBC
22University of California, Los Angeles215NBC NewsThe Associated Press
23University of Texas at Austin214The New York TimesNPR
24Penn State University212The New York TimesFox News
25University of Pennsylvania206The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
25University of Virginia206The Washington PostNPR
27University of Georgia198CNNABC News
28Princeton University189The New York TimesThe Associated Press
29Brown University186The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
30University of Wisconsin-Madison148The New York TimesNPR

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

InstitutionRank (Adjusted)# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
Columbia University1623The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
Harvard University2387The New York TimesNPR
Yale University3307The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
Northwestern University4530The New York TimesNBC News
New York University51110The New York TimesMSNBC
Georgetown University6297The Washington PostNPR
Emerson College7148NBC NewsCBS News
American University8316The Washington PostNPR
Princeton University9189The New York TimesThe Associated Press
Hofstra University10217Fox NewsMSNBC
Stanford University11218The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
Barnard College1287The New York TimesNBC News
Weselyan University1388The New York TimesMSNBC
Brown University14186The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
George Washington University15318CNNMSNBC
Fordham University16254The New York TimesFox News
Williams College1749The New York TimesABC News
Syracuse University18348CNNCBS News
Ithaca College19119CNNFox News
Boston University20393The New York TimesFox News
Middlebury College2160The New York TimesNPR
Amherst College2238The New York TimesThe Associated Press
Wellesley College2349The New York TimesNPR
University of Pennsylvania24206The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
Dartmouth College2585The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
Duke University25122The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
University of Chicago27113The New York TimesNPR
Cornell University28224The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal
University of Southern California29280CNNCBS News
University of Maryland30415The Washington PostNPR
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