A hopeful future for journalism
Crisis in print, high rates of unemployment and bad paychecks made me doubt if journalism was the right choice. However, as I begin my masters degree at NYU, things are starting to change.
A couple of months before I started my journalism studies in college in 2009, Brazilian congressmen voted to make the journalism diploma for newsrooms unnecessary. It was chaos. Journalists were infuriated, news consumers didn’t know if they could trust news organizations anymore and students, like me, were confused about what to do next. Should we change our area of study and focus in something else, like sports or political science? We could still write for newspapers and magazines.
To make things even more uncomfortable for journalism students, there were many job layoffs in newsrooms. Just like in the U.S, Brazilians were trading newspapers and television for laptops, tablets and smartphones and didn’t want to pay for information anymore.
At college, professors kept teaching the basic writing skills, radio, magazine, newspaper and TV reporting and a lot of theory of mass communication. Also, because we knew that the journalism industry was in crisis, our mindset was to be very competitive against each other and work mostly alone.
After graduating, some of my friends were unemployed and most of them were in jobs with terrible pay and tiring schedules. Few were happy.
I decided to invest in a masters degree to (a) have a hands-on experience in digital journalism and (b) increase my chances in getting a good, satisfying job in the industry. As soon as my first week of NYU studies began, I started receiving many internship e-mails and readings about digital news organizations hiring journalists to occupy positions I had never heard of before, which was very exciting.
I knew that print journalism was also in a crisis in the U.S, but here the scenario didn’t seem as bad as in Brazil. American journalists may be complaining about some of the job layoffs, but there are so many new opportunities being created in the country that, even though the future of journalism is still a question mark, I believe it is heading on a positive path.
To put my thoughts to test, I decided to google about new positions and job offers in digital news organizations. It took me hardly any time to come up with good links about it.
First there is a list made by the PRLab at Boston University in the BostInno website explaining five new positions that didn’t exist ten years ago in the journalism field: social media manager, SEO specialist, digital marketing manager, user experience analyst and online ads manager.
Then there is this amazing study released in March 26, 2014 by the Pew Research Center that analyses the rise of jobs in digital news organizations. It gathered data from 468 companies, 30 of which were considered “major digital news organizations” by the researchers. All of them together were responsible for 5,000 new full-time editorial jobs. The Big 30 were accountable for over 3,000 of them.
According to the research, these native digital news organizations are fulfilling the gap left by traditional companies that aren’t covering many local news and/or investing in investigative reporting.
The study also highlights that even though thousands of jobs are being created, a lot more has to happen to equalize the layoffs in traditional news organizations in the last decade.
However, I believe the results presented in the research are very positive. It shows an explosion of hiring in these native digital companies, such as Vice, Buzzfeed and Business Insider. Also, many of these news organizations are investing in global coverage. The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, for example, are extremely popular in Brazil, which is very good, because it creates jobs in foreign countries, helping spread new ways of doing journalism.
Therefore, I am very excited to see where my journalism path leads me after graduation. People keep focusing on the newspaper layoffs and predicting terrible times to journalism. However, as everything in life, it is a matter of adaptation. Journalism is already finding new ways of survival.
Journalism schools around the world must also start this recycle process in order to form professionals that are able to identify necessities, to keep updated to what’s happening in the field and to tackle problems with creative solutions.
Long live journalism!