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Is there any hope for young journalists?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bulldawg84, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. bulldawg84

    bulldawg84 New Member

    Hey, long time listener, first time caller ...
    Sorry, just had to get that out. ;D
    But to the serious question: Given the current state of the business, and the seemingly rampant destruction of newspaper journalism, is there really any hope for young journalists like myself, just a few years removed from college? I currently work at a small daily with dreams of one day moving up in the world. I often check this site in hopes of better understanding this business, but all I seem to find are obituaries. This is a profession I grew up idolizing, not for its popularity and opportunities to become wealthy, but for its sincerity and the chance to affect the lives of others with a simple keystroke. Thankfully, I have experienced both in the short time I've been apart of this business. But with the loss of places like the Rocky Mountain News, and the mass exodus of some of journalism's finest to other professions, am I really foolish for sticking it out? Should I just pack it in, go back to school, and get into communications, sports information, teaching, or god-forbid, ... law? None of these options interest me, and a few were things I chose to ignore because I wanted to take the "high" road and get into journalism. But am I wrong for believing things will work themselves out, eventually? Thanks.
    And to all those still plugging away, ... stay strong. Call me an idealist, but I have to believe what we do really does matter, even if we're not paid accordingly.
     
  2. CCaple

    CCaple Member

    I sure as hell hope so. I'm just a college kid myself, so I guess I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think there was at least a chance the news industry is going to turn it around.

    But I'd be stunned if anything I write is being delivered to people's doorsteps 10 years from now. Unless someone prints it out and walks it across the street or something.
     
  3. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I've always encouraged people to follow their hearts.

    I know many here will disagree with me, and that's fine. But I believe things go in cycles. A lot of industries are going through hard times right now, not just journalism.

    There will always be a need and a place for someone to report news and put it into context. The platform may change, but the basic skills of researching, interviewing, writing and editing are the foundations.

    It's ironic, the larger papers are the ones most in peril at the present. Yes, it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. You may not get that promotion as quickly as you might have hoped, but if reporting, writing and editing is really where your heart is, don't abandon that.

    If and when the day comes --- as it has for some of us --- when the fire and passion is no longer there, when you dread going to work, then that may be a signal it's time to walk a different path.
     
  4. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Hope? I have 25 years of daily newspaper experience, having started before most of today's college students were born, and I'm searching every day for hope.

    And a job.

    Newspapers are no longer a major focus of my search. That's all I can tell you. That, and it has me up late nights lately.

    But, I agree: Follow your heart. Things will get worse before they get better, but eventually things will swing the other way, and there will be jobs. What form they take is yet unclear, but you're young enough to look forward to that day.

    That said, have a Plan B, and a Plan C, and ...
     
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    There IS hope for young journalists. I do still believe that. There will be places to practice good journalism, whether it's traditional corporate media entities or a voiceofsandiego.org model or something in between.

    Can those journalists make a living that way? Some will. Not nearly as many as before, though.

    There is no hope for young newspapersmen and -women. I am fully convinced of that.
     
  6. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    see, that's where we mess up.. confining ourselves solely to newspapers.

    Over the years, I've worked in broadcasting, PR, magazines and web stuff in addition to newspapers. I can honestly say that, given the right set of circumstances, I can be just as content in any of the others. In fact, I dare say newspapers offer MORE limitations than the other related forms of media.
     
  7. CCaple

    CCaple Member

    I was having this conversation with a couple of other reporters at my school rag. We all agreed that the saddest part of the movie "Marley and Me" was that both of them were able to just stroll into newsrooms and get jobs at reputable daily newspapers. I was stuck on that the whole movie, since in today's world, that kind of scenario is so wildly unrealistic that it's almost laughable.

    Almost.
     
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I guess I'd say it would have to depend on why you decided you wanted to become a journalist. Were you inspired by the countless TV shows and movies that showed journos banging out stories on deadline to serve mankind and seduced by the lure of the newsroom? Well, yeah, there is no hope for you. But if you are really interested in a specific topic and will pursue that topic to the ends of the earth, I think there is hope. The Internet has fractured the industry, so there will be fewer generalists and more people with more carefully honed niches. Think Ohio high school basketball, Northwest environmental law, ballet, water policy in the Southwest, Native American health. The zeal of Woodward and Bernstein will never go out of style.
     
  9. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member


    Let's put it this way, if you're married to the idea of newsprint . . .

    If you think the money and job security were horseshit, up to THIS point . . .


    I need say no more.
     
  10. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    It's a distinct possibility you'll be able to do that without actually moving.
     
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i see "not nearly as many" as about 10 percent.
     
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    The production, analysis, and distribution of information will always exist as a business in some form. I actually believe news-gathering organizations whose primary format is text (not print, but words) will rebound strongly in the next 10-20 years, because people need information. It's just like gasoline.
    And, like gasoline, the producers will eventually get together and stop making their product so cheap. I'm old enough to remember that people once thought $1 a gallon gas was the end of the world. They'll get used to paying for information just like they got used to paying for television, gasoline, and a lot of other artificially cheap staples.
     
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