Why Become A Journalist?

If you are a young talented writer, photographer or video journalist – why would you want to go into newspaper journalism or to a lesser extent television?  The journalism iconoclast has a great post about how journalism is bleeding out its brightest and youngest talent.

And the question you have to ask is why would someone want to go into this career right now?

The answer I have is don’t.  Don’t do it.  At least don’t depend on big media mega companies being there forever.  Have a backup plan.  And don’t major in journalism, minor in it.  And if you have to major in it – double major.  Have another major that you can fall back on if journalism collapses.

And if you are a writer, then you have to learn some other skills – web design, photoshop, video editing, video shooting and more.  If I was going into journalism today, then I would double major in journalism and graphic design – with a heavy emphasis on web design.

Anyone who calls themselves a journalist in 2008 and is still a journalist in 2058 will have more than a few curves to navigate on their career path.  Be ready for it, be aware and be willing to learn new skills and new technology.

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10 Comments

  1. […] verdict is not well. Teach J asks why become a journalist? And the question you have to ask is why would someone want to go into this career right […]

  2. Thank you for the honesty.

  3. WHY DO SOMEONE WANT TO BECOME A JOURNALIST?

  4. I’m guessing that most people get into journalism for two reasons 1) They enjoy telling stories of one kind or another 2) They enjoy the give and take of reporter and source – the thrill of getting a scoop.

  5. jeez, that is so discouraging….Its just my first year and this makes me want to switch already

    • Don’t be discouraged about journalism. Newspapers printed on pulp may be in trouble (but not Doomed!), but reporting is going to go on. If I was a young journo starting out, I’d want to make sure I have a lot of Web skills and multimedia skills. Learn to shoot and edit video and create things in Flash. Journalism of the future will be more interactive. I think that’s a great thing.

  6. I think this a rediculous and very twisted view of what journalism can be.
    How about political journalism? Last time I checked there were a few war’s going on around the world along with other political conflicts; people want to read about that don’t they? They want to see it on the news, especially if it could affect them in any way. People want to read about what can affect them most on a first hand basis. I would look into Creative Writing along with Journalism and learn all the tricks of the trade so that you could write journals, news, etc. as well as novels, and other forms of entertaining literature. Don’t be discouraged, be determined.

    • I don’t think this is twisted. As a journalism teacher, I’m appalled at the number of kids going into journalism without any idea how ugly it is out there. Newspapers are shutting down, more are cutting back and even more are in trouble. Having a backup plan is prudent. If you really want to be a journalist, start your own site. Find a niche that no one covers well and start giving it top flight coverage. (Thus the double major) And I don’t think ALL newspapers will die and I don’t think journalism is going to die. I actually think this is a good thing for journalism. Yes, there will be pain and suffering and that is terrible for those who suffer. But I think that we will stop duplicating coverage and start giving more coverage to more smaller groups who have been ignored before. So, of course national and international news will still be covered, just not by newspapers in small towns. You will have to read a newspaper (or news site) that specializes in national or international news. It makes more sense for a reporter who live in Hong Kong to cover news about China, than one who just jets into Hong Kong for a day or even a week.

  7. This is the truth….Yea, I’m a journalism major, and I’m kind of a crappy one at that. I signed up last semester, and I still have no clips. After a few months of hearing that I’m screwed over and over; I’m pretty convinced that it’s going nowhere, but it’s already too late since I’m graduating in a year. At this point, I’m going into panic mode and trying to gain any skills possible; HTML, computer programming, graphic design, tutoring, anything. I do have a double-major though. What’s my other major, you ask? Anthropology. I’d better get used to sleeping in a cardboard box.

  8. i have just completed my PG in Journalism.now i would like to get a survival in this profession..Anyhow, I am able to be a good influence, among the many bad ones, which are out there. I can take out my frustrations through my writing and come to conclusions, which will help somebody having my same problems. As a journalist, I can get the opportunity of presenting my stories to hundreds of people, as they read the morning newspaper and have their coffee. I have the chance to make somebody’s day or to just make them laugh, and maybe change their view on a particular subject of interest.


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