Do Political Reporters Need to Be Political Scientists?

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Political Science

Publication Date



As the criticism of our current state of journalism and the current state of journalism education mounts, we ask a simple question: Could political science graduates do a better job of providing political reporting than graduates with journalism degrees? Although we do not test this question empirically, a review of the extant literature suggests that political science departments and curricula have the potential to foster graduates that have a high level of political knowledge, political judgment, and critical thinking skills. These skills are essential for political reporters if they are to wade through political spin, manipulation, and misdirection.

Secondly, if political science graduates are indeed more qualified to provide political reporting to US citizens and to reenergize American democracy, would media executives be willing to hire such graduates absent a degree in journalism? This question we do examine empirically. With a survey of current media executives utilizing a battery of questions assessing their willingness to hire nonjournalism graduates, we are pleased to find an openness on the part of media executives to hire political science graduates to do their political reporting, even if such graduates do not possess a degree in journalism.


This article was originally published in Journal of Political Science Education. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Political Science Education


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