The State of Journalism and the Media: Positives and Negatives
It’s no secret that the newspaper industry has been in a dire situation in recent years. In truth, the industry has undergone a complete reorganization, which has not only impacted news consumers but also specifically employees and perspective young journalist and students. The average weekday combined newspaper circulation, digital and print outputs are steadily falling each year. Unfortunately, digital subscriptions and increased online traffic has not exhibited any real revenue solutions in the grand scheme of things. Yes this does sound negative. But while many are prophesying the death of journalism as we know it, there are new positives on the horizon that will depend on the industry’s ability to persevere, become more entrepreneurial and not hold on too strongly to classic publishing tactics. Lets break the situation down in order to give you an honest look at where things are at:
Internships and contract positions are either unpaid or very low in wage
There is not a single writer out there who is not familiar with having to work for free (but very hard) in order to even have the remote possibility of getting ahead in the journalism field. Right now on the landscape of journalism the job security is simply not there, so journalists need to stay on their toes and keep their freelance options open. There is very little possibility of landing a union-protected staff position at a publication or media outlet. This is why, unfortunately, many students considering their futures are heading directly into public relations and corporate communications. The whole news and entertainment-sharing medium is deemed highly impractical.
Training quality is at an all-time high
Here’s a HUGE positive: university journalism training is becoming much more thorough and students are being trained on everything from electronic journalism to social media to management to marketing and graphics. The fact of the matter is that one simply cannot hope to succeed in journalism nowadays without a far-reaching collection of skills and knowledge. Know how to do it all and you will have the better chance at landing a coveted full-time job in journalism.
Newspapers are shutting down or becoming non-profit, and fast. With the way information is shared and consumed nowadays companies simply do not have the budgets to fund nor can they feasibly value large staffs or really any staff member that does less than absolutely amazing and innovative work. These budget issues are North America wide and require journalists to stand out from the pack and also be able to write in multiple different areas of interest.
Prioritizing creative fulfillment over job security
This is not a real thing. Do not do it. Have your creative outlet, but know that the money—for the most part—will always come from high-need areas. Economics, marketing, business writing, social media consulting and managements…this is where the money is at. Understand the needed symbiotic union between artistic needs and economic ones.
Do not be discouraged. If you are an aspiring journalist, the field is a challenge that—if conquered—can be extremely rewarding. Just know that these days it demands of you to know more and do more than ever before. These are the jobs that take smart people to brilliant levels through the process of creativity, rejection, perseverance and social change.