When I worked at a daily newspaper many years ago as a copy editor, we used to make fun of “broadcast journalism” — speaking just that way about the matter, as though there were quotes around the subject of broadcast journalism. That is, WE were the real journalists, the television and radio people were just the pretty boys or pretty voices who did more entertainment than journalism.
Who knew a mere 20 years later most daily newspapers would be on the brink of bankruptcy, and some of the big ones over the brink?
I still grump and grumble about television “journalists” as people who primarily major in photogenic smiles and sparkling personalities and only read what others have written for them. They aren’t real “news guys,” are they? Surely not.
Then there are bloggers. Yes, I know I’m one of ’em. Bloggers and blogging range from careful writers who research and reflect on what they’re doing to various hacks and hobbiests who are clueless about writing and blogging — and are certainly marginal on true journalistic skills and experience. (I wouldn’t presume to know how I rank in that range; I’d leave that up to you to decide.)
I’ve rambled through all that to get to the point in my title: If you are a writer and you want to be a journalist, you might have to find a “day job” to support you. Very simply, the growth of “social media” on the Internet, combined with the 24/7 cable news and opinion channels tumbling out of television sets throughout the land, have put newspapers and magazines on the ropes. Journalism as a tradition built primarily upon daily newspapers is GONE. If you aren’t comfortable writing online and/or doing broadcast journalism, you’ll need to break some other new ground with your writing skills.
Or get a good job as a server in a nice restaurant. Or wash dishes in a nice restaurant. Or maybe just stand longingly outside of nice restaurants and lament your lack of income.
Not a happy time to launch a career in journalism, I’m afraid.