I once thought the job market for journalists was tremendous. I mean, if there are tons of newspapers and news agencies out there, the demand for journalists must be extremely high, right?
Please enter, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008.
Sam Zell, owner of the Tribune Company (publishers of 13 newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in addition to owning the Chicago Cubs) announced Monday that the Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy, citing a debt of $13 billion.
That scares me.
I have aspirations of being a print journalist, of the sports reporter variety. If the Tribune Co., the second largest publisher in the United States, is filing for bankruptcy, who’s to say there will be a job available for me upon graduation?
So much for having job security as a journalist. Just chalk up reporters and editors on the ever-growing list of occupations with a horrendous job outlook.
Kind of makes me wonder if I chose the right career… again. I had this same predicament exactly three years ago when I was a mechanical engineering major at Michigan Tech. Journalism is my third career choice since graduating high school, and I’ve spent far too much time and money on my education to just pack up and go with something else.
Since the notion of traditional journalism, (old-fashioned print journalism, the newspaper your grandparents read ever-so-diligently), has all but vanished, Internet journalism is rapidly becoming a phenomenon. Blogs, such as what you are reading here, aka “citizen journalism,” are everywhere. It is estimated there are over 100 million registered blogs. Doesn’t look like I should get my hopes up of being a sports writer like Mitch Albom or the PTI guys (Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon both got their start at the Washington Post) if I am one in 100 million. How do I get my name out there so people know who I am? YOU! My readers!
In addition to Internet media rapidly transforming into the way my generation gets their news, the very minuscule goal I have can now be accomplished!
Also on Monday, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced it will expand it’s 14 journalism categories to feature “text-based newspapers and news organizations that publish only on the internet.” Online-only news sources used to be restricted to only breaking news and breaking news photography winners since 2006, but this announcement removes those restrictions.
Should I become an Internet journalist, let it be known, I can still win a Pulitzer!
Moving on, instead of focusing my hopes and aspirations on working for a newspaper or some sort of Internet media, I must keep my eyes on something else…
Enter stage left: Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine.
Dr. Maria Marron, chairwoman of the journalism department at CMU and a former professor of mine, told me in class once that SI, in regards to quality of journalism and reporting, is the best out there among all newspapers and magazines.
After being an SI subscriber for the past four months, I can’t help but agree. Now, if only I could just write for them…
I failed to mention the business health of the Booth Newspapers, the owner of the eight major newspapers in Michigan (Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle and the Saginaw News).
It was recently reported that Booth newspapers were cutting jobs, downsizing and moving all of their design and editing duties for the entire company to one central location, the company’s headquarters in Grand Rapids. For affected employees, Booth was offering a buyout to employees with a five-year seniority. Overall, what does this mean: fewer reporters.
Now that the United States is “officially” in a recession with Michigan’s economy alone having been in recession for almost a year now, add that to the rapidly-failing auto industry that ‘drives’ Michigan (no pun intended), and it just gives me one more reason to leave this state as quickly as possible.