Teaching Examples

Dreams vs. reality in journalism ambition
January 23, 2007, 2:33 pm
Filed under: education, future, journalism, online

A lot of journalism students have weighed in on my earlier post — Getting (and keeping) a job in journalism — and I’m very happy to see it.

In the comments, “Elizabeth” characterizes a whole segment of journalism students when she says she doesn’t want to be a journalist if she can’t be the kind we see in Amercian movies from the 1930s (I’m thinking of His Girl Friday, which is actually from 1940, although I Cover the Waterfront is a personal favorite of mine). I don’t think she needs to worry. That kind of newsroom doesn’t exist anymore, so she simply won’t be hired.

“B. Smith” wrote: “… if these [media] corporations do survive, then *just* writing would be enough, as the corporation would have departments for each of the responsibilities that you mention.”

Obviously B. has not been following the industry very closely. The New York Times is merging online and print together in one newsroom. So is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — and all of Gannett. In more and more formerly “print” newsrooms, everyone is expected to do online work now.


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3 Comments so far
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My old newspaper was print only. It has a website, but that was mostly considered an embarrassment. I think most of its readers are on Social Security. When the paper dies with them, a large swath of California will be left without its own news outlet because no one there knew how to adapt.

I just found your blog last week (don’t quite remember how, possibly RConversation or ESWN), and it’s gotten me thinking about how to get back into journalism professionally.

What I’m starting to think about lately is what kind of news organization I want to work for, and what skills I’m going to need. I’m starting to realize that my abbreviated undergrad journalism program (again, print only) and the past two years at a local daily didn’t give me what I need.

Thank goodness for the blogosphere.

Comment by Chris

There are a lot of ways to learn new skills, Chris. Some people would prefer to go back to school, but others would learn just as well on their own — from books and Web sites as well as from blogs.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

This post is for Elizabeth as much as anybody else …

When I first met my wife, she told me about a broken-down, former UPI reporter she used to know … they’d go to a downtown bar and talk shop. He’d tell her about his glory days of “busting the wire,” i.e. getting scoops.

We’ve both always enjoyed old journalism movies — The Front Page, I Cover the Waterfront, Deadline USA, His Girl Friday, etc.

I always felt like a journalistic soul of out time. I worked as a print reporter, but with little competition and one rigid deadline per day. This wasn’t the journalism of the movies.

In 1995, I discovered online journalism. I immediately grasped the new reality: Here was a chance to return to the glory days of journalism … competition would be heightened, deadlines wouldn’t matter, and we could strive to “bust the wire.”

I’ve said this before: I don’t think there’s been a better time to be a journalist since the 1930s or so. What’s going on now is just so much more damn exciting and interesting. If you love journalism, especially in all of its romantic ethos, how could you not love online journalism? Hilde Johnson would be so lucky.

Comment by Howard Owens

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