How will the time-honored talents of good journalists fare in the wake of the information age? It’s a relevant question for anyone intent on entering the field when today, the most finite details of industry, business, entertainment, government and foreign affairs are but a mouse click away?
The short answer is, quite well. While it is clear that the growth of the Internet has tapped advertising revenue and slowed the growth of major newspaper, television and cable journalism departments, it has also opened a vast array of non-traditional news outlets for reporters.
Twenty years ago journalism majors were required to choose a medium: print, television or radio – as a major focus of study. However, in order to thrive in today’s market; journalists must be able to market and expand their skills across a broad spectrum of media. Journalism departments are beginning to recognize this and are broadening their programming in order to expose students to the most possibilities in this ever-changing job market. Click Here for more journalism majors.
Examples of basic journalism courses include introduction to mass media, basic reporting and copy editing, history of journalism, and press law and ethics. But as these fields continue to intertwine, more progressive universities are beginning to integrate more cross training between these disciplines. To create stories for online media, for example, students need to learn to use computer imaging and video editing
Today, it’s not uncommon to see single reporters working for smaller outlets, doing the work of a three, or four person news crew. These reporters are often also in charge of photography, audio and video content in addition to the actual text of their story for Internet or cable broadcast.
Adapt – The Mantra for Survival
Successful journalists and reporters have always been ones who could adapt to unforeseen circumstances. This skill will be even more important for journalism careers in the 21st Century.
Larger news outlets will continue to cut costs in keeping with the loss of advertising revenue to the Internet and more specific media markets. As a result competition will continue to stiffen for jobs on large metropolitan and national newspaper, broadcast and magazine news bureaus.
Wear Many Hats
Entry-level opportunities however are expected to grow in small-town and suburban markets. Qualifications for entry into these growing markets will however extend beyond formal journalism training.
Small town newspaper reporters are usually required to juggle a number of beats. Reporters at these daily or weekly publications will need expert people skills to truly be accepted and taken into confidence by these often-insular communities. Covering a commissioner’s court meeting in the morning, library groundbreaking in the afternoon and a high school football game in the evening is not uncommon.
In addition, editors at small town newspapers work with a small staff and will give special consideration to those with desktop publishing experience to help layout part or all of the newspaper, design ads and update the paper’s website.
Make Your Own Hat
Talented writers with specific knowledge about highly specialized scientific, medical; education or technical fields will see increased opportunities, as demand for news becomes more user specific.
Also, newspapers both small and large are increasingly depending on a growing staff of part-time stringers and freelancers who, because they do not qualify for costly company benefits packages offered to full-time employees offer additional staffing at a lower cost.
News analyst, general reporter, and correspondent positions are expected to grow more slowly than average through 2014. As mergers and acquisitions of broadcasting industries continue, companies will allocate existing correspondents to cover these areas.
Advances in communications technology will allow journalists to do their jobs more efficiently, limiting the number of workers needed to cover a story or certain types of news. However, as previously mentioned, these innovations will offer more options for consumers as well. This will drive a continued demand for news from independent and market sources such as online newspapers and magazines.
Opportunities will continue to increase in the new media areas of which, because of their low overhead expenses, are able to invest more advertising revenue into their news departments.
News analysts, reporters, and correspondents held about 64,000 jobs in 2005. About 61 percent worked for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers. Another 25 percent worked in radio and television broadcasting. About seven percent of news analysts, reporters, and correspondents were self-employed or stringers.