PAR and your future
If you want to be a working journalist, then PAR is a perfect match for you. The program enjoys an excellent placement record, averaging close to 100 percent for each graduating class.
Last spring’s graduates, for example, are now working as print reporters in newspapers/online news services in Illinois, Washington D.C., Florida, and Wisconsin. Broadcast grads are reporters/producers with television and radio stations throughout Illinois.
In all, more than 700 students have gone through PAR over the last four decades, and roughly two-thirds of them currently are with the media or in media-related fields.
Their ranks include editors, columnists and reporters at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Arizona Republic, Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Indianapolis Star, The (Baltimore) Sun, The Seattle Times, the Kansas City Star, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, International Herald Tribune, and other major metropolitan newspapers, as well as with The Associated Press, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires and Bloomberg News.
Broadcast alums are executives, producers and reporters with television and radio outlets in the Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Orlando, Indianapolis, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville and other markets throughout the U.S., as well as with Al Jazeera, C-SPAN and National Public Radio.
PAR alums also account for roughly half of the Capitol press corps, including six bureau chiefs.
Actually, there’d be something amiss if the PAR program did not post impressive placement results year after year, considering what graduates bring to the table. PAR products start their professional careers fresh from full-time jobs, cleverly disguised as internships, covering the complexities of Illinois government for the state’s leading media outlets. They have the clips and the resume tapes to show what they did in the demanding environment of the Statehouse, where, in Mr. Dooley’s words, “Politics ain’t beanbag.”
In addition to finely-honed reporting and writing skills, PAR grads also acquire in-depth knowledge of the most critical public affairs issues of the day, from abortion regulation to welfare reform, including such topics as school finance, health care, and taxation.
In short, students leaving the PAR program are prepared to step into the most demanding beats a newsroom has to offer, and the media managers who do the hiring know it. That’s why managing editors and news directors with openings on their news staffs call us looking for alums who might be available; in fact, frequently the callers are PAR grads themselves.
So not only is there life after PAR, but the program’s track record shows that graduates have bright prospects for a great job and a solid professional career.