The future of journalism oftentimes seems pretty grim to the thousands of newspaper reporters who lost their jobs in layoffs this past decade. But there’s hope and lots of potential in digital innovation.
That’s where you come in. You are responsible for the future of our business. But before you can start planning how the rest of us will consume media, you need to learn what happened in the past and how it’s affecting today’s journalism.
John Oliver doesn’t claim to be a journalist. He’s a comedian and TV host. But perhaps we journalists have a lot to learn from his ability to break down important issues while making people laugh. Watch John Oliver’s tragically accurate and funny analysis on the media business.
HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” also exposed media acquisitions in an episode on Sinclair Broadcast Group that aired July 2, 2017.
The closure of the Tampa Tribune hits close to home. The Trib was another casualty in the inevitable transition to digital news. But one very important thing to remember as we watch more newspapers close their doors in the coming years, this isn’t just a shift in platforms. We’re not only shifting from print to digital. The wake of mass layoffs will undoubtedly clear the path for more government corruption.
Some newspaper journalists continue their investigative reporting for online publications. But at least in the near future, funding for investigations that hold the powerful accountable isn’t looking so great. Here are a few important articles you should read to understand what’s happening to newspapers and the journalism many unknowingly relied on:
- Tampa just lost a daily newspaper. Is this the continuation of an old trend or the start of a new one?
- Tampa Bay Times purchases Tampa Tribune
- Newspaper industry lost 3,800 full-time editorial professionals in 2014
- ASNE stops trying to count total job losses in American newsrooms
Why Should You Care?
It’s important for young professionals just starting out in media to understand the business side of our business. I’m not showing you this to scare you, but to help you perhaps learn from the past, and help lay a more solid foundation for the future of journalism.
Another quick note I feel obligated to share with you is to always be prepared to be laid off. I saw too may great people get laid off and locked out of their jobs in an instant. So make sure you’re prepared.
- Always save your work on your personal computer, drive, or cloud.
- Network with professionals outside of your company and help others get jobs so they’ll help you too if you ever need it.
- Don’t wait until you’re laid off to ask for letters of recommendations.
- Get certified. The Poynter Institute is one company that offers credible training and certification programs.
- Always update your resume on LinkedIn and job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.
- Get a side job. Sites like FlexJobs offer great freelance gigs for writers and digital marketers that you can do while you have a full-time job if it’s not a conflict of interest.
- Save money and don’t live beyond your means. The more money you save, the more options you’ll have. If you live extravagantly, you’ll be much more stressed out if the checks suddenly stop coming. Give yourself several months of cushion so you can make rational and responsible choices about your future, instead of desperately grabbing the first job that comes your way.
The New York Times is known around the world. But even one of the biggest papers in the world isn’t immune to change.
Andrew Rossi directed the documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times” about the inner workings of the New York Times and the tension between new and old modes of journalism. He spoke with the Center for Investigative Reporting about making the movie and the role investigative journalism plays in society.