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Top Feeders to News and Media

Updated July 2021

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 170 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 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 University1002The New York TimesMSNBC
2Columbia University565The New York TimesMSNBC
3Northwestern University480The New York TimesNPR
4University of California, Berkeley391The New York TimesNPR
5Boston University376The New York TimesNBC News
6Harvard University353The New York TimesNPR
7University of Maryland349The Washington PostNPR
8Syracuse University327CNNCBS News
9University of Southern California298CNNCBS News
9University of Missouri296The Wall Street JournalMSNBC
11University of California, Los Angeles280NBC NewsCBS News
12University of Michigan277The New York TimesNPR
13American University276The Washington PostNPR
14Georgetown University274The Washington PostNPR
15Yale University273The New York TimesNPR
16George Washington University269The Washington PostMSNBC
17Fordham University233CBS NewsMSNBC
18University of Florida215CNNThe Washington Post
19Stanford University213The New York TimesNPR
20University of Texas at Austin212The New York TimesNPR
21Penn State University209The Wall Street JournalFox News
22University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill207CNNThe Washington Post
23Hofstra University205Fox NewsMSNBC
23Cornell University192The New York TimesNPR
25University of Pennsylvania192The New York TimesThe Washington Post
26University of Georgia191CNNNPR
27University of Virginia 188The Washington PostNPR
28Brown University169The New York TimesCBS News
29University of Wisconsin-Madison161The New York TimesThe Associated Press
30Indiana University150The Wall Street JournalCBS News

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Columbia University565The New York TimesMSNBC
2Northwestern University480The New York TimesNPR
3Harvard University353The New York TimesNPR
4Yale University273The New York TimesNPR
5New York University1002The New York TimesMSNBC
6Emerson College142CNNNPR
7Georgetown University274The Washington PostNPR
8American University276The Washington PostNPR
9Barnard College86The New York TimesThe Associated Press
10Hofstra University205Fox NewsMSNBC
11Stanford University213The New York TimesNPR
12Wesleyan University86The New York TimesMSNBC
13Princeton University148The New York TimesThe Washington Post
14Fordham University233CBS NewsMSNBC
15Brown University169The New York TimesCBS News
16Amherst College42The New York TimesNBC News
17George Washington University269The Washington PostMSNBC
18Syracuse University327CNNCBS News
19Ithaca College127CNNFox News
20Boston University376The New York TimesNBC News
21Williams College42The New York TimesNPR
22Middlebury College52The New York TimesNPR
23University of Pennsylvania 192The New York TimesThe Washington Post
24Duke University109The New York TimesThe Washington Post
25Wellesley College40The New York TimesMSNBC
26Dartmouth College68The New York TimesCBS News
27University of Chicago94The New York TimesNPR
28University of Southern California 298CNNCBS News
29University of Missouri296The Wall Street JournalMSNBC
30University of California, Berkeley391The New York TimesNPR
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