Don’t fret, young journalists

Young journalists,

Let me tell you a story.I bumped into a woman today who recently left a journalism job without much hope for the future of the industry.

“Get out,” she growled. “Get out while you can.”

She then left without as much as a handshake. She was late to her new job.

Get out? Me? Get out of what? Where? When? Why? That’s all I could think.

Perhaps the response to her warning reveals a trapped journalist that cannot escape the five critical questions, stuck in forever in jurno-purgatory. Or, perhaps the 5-question response shows the only way my brain can process information, again a scary realization.

There are many fears (beyond the five-question “is this the way I should be thinking?” approach to life) surrounding young journalists right now but those fears shouldn’t scare people away from the industry. At the Missouri Press Association Convention this year, I was asked to sit on a “young journalist” panel and talk about some of these concerns. Call me an eternal optimist but I think we’re all fine.

My big three points:

1. Journalism is here to stay. People will always care about what’s going on in their community, and they want reliable information, not speculation. Journalism will always fill that void.

2. Journalism is changing. I don’t think we’ll be sticking quarters into a box for much longer to get a newspaper. We might see journalism being paid in a variety of ways depending on the news organization. Ads, paywalls, donations, Google surveys, etc. might all add up to pay for a “paper.”

3. Journalism isn’t about the money. At least this is true for me. I want to obviously be able to support myself, but I’m not looking to drive around a Ferrari. If you’re going to stick with this industry, I think you need to be okay with living on not too much.

if you love this job, you will be able to earn a living off it. Journalism will be needed. As we keep wading through this information-filled life, we need people who can sort it all out for us.

And to the people who warn you to “get out” because journalism is dying? Just ask where they heard that news from. I bet they read that somewhere …


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