ABC sees student loan crisis, ignores hot job market

ABC sees student loan crisis, ignores hot job market
NBC and USA Today report best market in four years for college graduates.

By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
May 17, 2006

     ABC News is giving the class of 2006 a graduation gift this year: nightmares about the student loan crisis. Both networks ignored a story NBC and USA Today picked up that shows the good news a strong job market for graduates.

     Student debt is at an all-time high. Last year's graduates owed more than $17,000 on average, for a bachelor's degree, ABCs Gigi Stone complained on the May 14 World News Tonight.

     Stone focused her stories on the complaints of people who choose to work in rewarding but low-paying jobs in the not-for-profit sector. The students getting hurt are those with the best intentions, who want to go into fields like social work and teaching, Stone pouted before complaining that many of these people are being forced to choose higher paying careers.

     Later in her own story, however, the ABC reporter admitted that lenders are often flexible for students in low-paying jobs. You may be able to get your loan forgiven if you work in an area where there is a shortage of teachers or social workers, Stone noted. Negotiate your payments, she added, because some companies are willing to base payments on your income.

     While ABC exaggerated individual complaints to warn of a crisis in student loans, NBC picked up on a strong job market for graduates.

     The beneficiaries of the good news in the labor market are this year's college grads. One survey finds businesses plan to increase their hiring of grads by almost 14 percent, NBCs Anne Thompson reported on the May 5 Nightly News.

     Thompson was referring to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). USA Today picked up the study 12 days later.

     Employers expect their college hiring for 2005-06 to surpass 2005 levels by nearly 14%, reporter Stephanie Armour wrote, citing the NACE study in the May 17 USA Today. found that more than 20% have raised, or plan to raise, their starting salaries and that increased competition means grads can be pickier with job offers.

     The NACE study echoes previous print reports documenting job growth in industries hiring highly-skilled workers.

     The bottom line for the class of 2006? Its the best (college job market) in four years, Armour quoted NACEs Andrea Koncz.

     The Business & Media Institute has previously documented the medias downplaying job growth while questioning the quality of the jobs being created.