Communications majors who graduate in Illinois will find a media industry stocked with well-established players, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago University Press, and the Johnson Publishing Company (the people behind the magazines Ebony and Jet). The state is also home to a number of dynamic advertising and public relations firms, as well as a host of major companies – such as Boeing, Motorola, United Airlines, and McDonalds. In fact, the Chicago region has one of the world’s largest economies, with over four million employees and more than 250,000 businesses. Overall, the state’s employment agency forecasts an almost 8% growth in jobs for media and communication workers between 2008 and 2018. While many of those opportunities will likely be in Chicago, communications grads are also likely to find work in the bigger cities such as Springfield, Rockford, Aurora, Naperville, Peoria, Joliet, and Elgin.
Undergraduate Degrees in Communications – Choosing to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a major in communications will give you the qualifications you need to start a career in mass media and digital communications. Whether you’re interested in journalism and independent filmmaking, or marketing and public relations, the know-how needed to reach people with a targeted message starts with a degree in communications.
Master’s Degrees in Communications – No matter your professional background or undergraduate major, you could earn a master’s in communications to prepare for a career in any number of diverse areas that include journalism, public relations, marketing, digital media and more.
TV and Radio Broadcasting
The sprawling Chicago area is the third-largest broadcast media market in North America, according to Adweek. The Windy City has almost 3.5 million television households and 30 television stations, according to data from Nielsen. Each of the big four U.S. television networks (CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox) own and operate a station in Chicago, while the city boasts 30 stations in total. As a whole, Illinois is home to more than 230 TV stations, 400 FM radio stations, and more than 250 AM radio stations, according to the FCC.
Resources and Professional Associations for TV and Radio Broadcasting:
Illinoisans read some of the largest and most respected papers in the country. The daily Chicago Tribune is consistently ranked in the top ten American papers in terms of circulation, while the weekly Chicago Reader is considered a pioneer of its genre. Although print readership has been declining in Illinois (just like most other places in the country), the state is home to innovative projects designed to lure new readers. The Chicago Tribune was one of the first papers in the country to develop its own website, while in 2002 it launched RedEye, a commuter paper aimed at 18- to 30-year-olds and designed to be read in twenty minutes. Overall the state has more than 400 newspapers, according to the Illinois Press Association, which is one of the largest such groups in the nation.
Local Newspapers and Guides:
- Chicago Tribune
- Chicago Sun-Times
- Quad-City Times
- Belleville News Democrat
- Daily Herald
- Chicago Reader
- Herald & Review
- State Journal-Register
- Journal Star
- Sauk Valley Newspapers
- Time Out Chicago
- Illinois Press Association
- Chicago Headline Club (Society of Professional Journalists)
- Chicago Journalists Association
Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
Illinois communications graduates who pursue careers in advertising, marketing, or public relations will find plenty of opportunities. The state’s employment agency projects an 11% rise in jobs for Advertising, Marketing, and Sales managers between 2008 and 2018, while jobs for Public Relations Managers are expected to grow almost 13% during the same period. In addition, opportunities for Public Relations Specialists are forecast to grow nearly 20%. As in other parts of the country, Illinois firms are increasingly focused on digital and social media, which means communications students would be wise to polish their skills in those areas.
PR and Advertising Firms:
- Hayes Marketing Services
- KMK Media Group
- Rick Wells Ltd
- Velasco & Associates
- Heinzeroth Marketing Group
- Green Ladder Creative
Professional Associations for Advertising and Public Relations:
- American Advertising Federation of Northern Illinois
- Chicago Advertising Federation
- Public Relations Association – Central Illinois
- Peoria Advertising Club
Illinois — and Chicago specifically — has long been a center for printing and publishing. Today the state is host to both the venerable Encyclopædia Britannica and the Independent Publishers Group, a distributor that markets books from indie publishers to the international trade. One standout among the state’s many publishers is the 120-year-old Chicago University Press, which publishes The Chicago Manual of Style, the bible for much of the editorial world.
Book and Magazine Publishing Companies:
- Johnson Publishing Company
- Black Dog Books
- Dalkey Archive Press
- Academy Chicago Publishers
- Dalkey Archive Press
- Featherproof Books
- Haymarket Books
- Moody Publishers
- Northern Illinois University Press
- Northwestern University Press
- Olympian Publishing
- Open Court Publishing Company
- Riverside Publishing
- Scott Foresman
- Southern Illinois University Press
- University of Chicago Press
- University of Illinois Press
Book Publishing and Writing Associations and Resources: