Nationally representative data show that former student journalists vote more frequently in their late teens and early 20s than their peers with no journalism experience. The study, conducted by Peter Bobkowski and Patrick Miller of the University of Kansas, also suggests that the civic boost from journalism is especially pronounced for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
This is the first study to document a unique contribution of journalism education to adult civic engagement. Several prior studies showed that there is a relationship between participation in school activities, including journalism, and greater civic participation in adulthood. But those studies bundled journalism’s contribution with other activities. This study, in contrast, statistically controls for the contribution of other activities (and a series of other potential factors), to isolate a distinct relationship between journalism and voting.
This study also shows that journalism is related to voting to a similar degree that taking debate and participating in student government are related to voting. The data used in the study come from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a nationally representative survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.