Ventura (California) Star: Colleges keep turning out optimistic print journalists despite the newspaper industry crunch. While students focusing on public relations, advertising and broadcasting account for much of the increased journalism enrollment on most campuses, sizeable numbers still want print media careers and are determined to find newspaper jobs despite increasingly bleak employment prospects.
This is strange, to say the least, because the prospects for traditional newspaper jobs are getting slimmer all the time.
I’ve been telling students who wonder about their futures to understand the changes in media, but not to get depressed about them. There’s never been a worse time to jump on the semi-standard career track of the past, where you worked for a succession of papers, each one bigger than the last, and hoped to end up at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post or other major daily. Maybe one of the students I’ve taught this year — all of whom were immensely talented — will go that route.
But I also tell them the bright side: There’s never been a better time to be a journalistic entrepreneur — to invent your own job, to become part of the generation that figures out how produce and, yes, sell the journalism we desperately need as a society and as citizens of a shrinking planet. The young journalists who are striking out on their own today, experimenting with techniques and business models, will invent what’s coming.
Most experiments will fail. That’s not a bug in the system, but a feature. It’s how we get better.
I can assure students of this. If I am in a position to hire someone, all other things equal, I will absolutely favor someone who’s failed at something interesting — and learned from his or her mistakes — over someone who’s taken the seemingly safe route.