Alabama is poised for growth in the television industry, particularly cable: the state employment agency projects that jobs in cable TV will grow 120% between 2008 and 2018. One of the state’s major companies is Raycom Media, which is headquartered in Birmingham and is one of the nation’s largest broadcasters.
Public television also has a unique history in Alabama: Alabama Public Television was America’s first state public television network. Established in 1953, the network now includes nine stations, which air a mix of locally-produced programming and content created by the state’s universities, providing a great forum in which communications majors can hone their broadcasting skills.
When it comes to radio, the state has 212 commercial stations, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Alabama Public Radio also provides a network of listener-supported stations that serve the Western half of the state.
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.
Newspaper readership in Alabama remains strong. Eighty six percent of Alabamians polled by the Alabama Press Association in January 2012 said they read either a daily or weekly newspaper. And the employment outlook for journalists in Alabama is healthier than in many other states, with the state’s labor department projecting job growth for reporters and correspondents each year during the current decade ending 2018. Mobile’s Press-Register is Alabama’s oldest active newspaper, dating back to 1813, while in total the state has 24 newspapers with daily circulation, according to the US Census Bureau.
Local Newspapers and Guides:
- Birmingham News
- Mobile Press-Register
- Huntsville Times
- Montgomery Advertiser
- Tuscaloosa News
- Dothan Eagle Lagniappe
- Mobile Bay Monthly
- Birmingham Magazine
- Business Alabama Magazine
- Alabama Press Association
- Alabama Media Professionals
- Media of Birmingham (also useful for PR and advertising professionals)
- Society of Professional Journalists – Professional Chapter
- Society of Professional Journalists – University of Alabama chapter
- The Birmingham Association of Black Journalists
Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
Alabama has a well-developed, diverse, and social-media-savvy advertising and PR landscape – local agencies have covered everything from rebuilding business interest after natural disasters to promoting southern food products. The state’s labor department expects jobs in advertising and related services to grow 11% total between 2008 and 2018, while jobs for PR specialists are forecast to grow 1.4% each year till 2018.
PR and Advertising Firms:
- Luckie Strategic PR
- Bellwether Group
- Wilbanks Agency Elite Public Relations & Marketing
- Stanford Creative Group
- Bay Coast Communications
- Strategy Public Relations
- Panorama Public Relations
Professional Associations for Advertising and Public Relations:
- Public Relations Council of Alabama
- Southern Public Relations Federation
- Public Relations Society of America – Alabama chapter
Alabama has historically been a center of magazine publishing in the South. The Birmingham-based Southern Progress Corporation (now owned by Time Inc.) publishes the perennially popular titles Southern Living, Cooking Light, Health, and Sunset. Their book publishing arm, Oxmoor House, also produces cooking, craft, diet, and lifestyle books. The University of Alabama Press offers scholarly titles, while the state is also home to a smaller selection of literary and genre fiction publishers.
Book and Magazine Publishing Companies Based in Alabama:
- Oxmoor House
- University of Alabama Press
- River City Publishing
- Slash Pine Press
Book Publishing and Writing Associations and Resources:
- Alabama Writers’ Forum
- Southeastern Writers Association