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Students, profs speak out on journalism prospects

I saw an interesting piece on Romenesko: “Colleges keep turning out optimistic print journalists despite the newspaper industry crunch

Most interesting point: On the students still enrolling in j-school in huge quantity…

“These students are young, and I’m not sure they’re particularly concerned or cognizant of the industry’s problems,” Kirkton said. “I think they just expect a lot of change in their lives and that if they go out of here with a good skill set, particularly the ability to communicate well, that they’re going to find a place in life.”

and later on:

“They see this revolutionary change that we’re in now as simply a matter of course. I find them looking forward to helping write the new business model of the newspaper industry,” said Fink, the author of nine journalism textbooks and a former executive vice president of Park Communications, an East Coast newspaper and broadcast company. “I find them intrigued with the online dimensions of the industry.

(My aside to that comment is it hits spot on on how I feel. I accept and embrace change. That’s why I always hated the “where do you see yourself in five years” question. I don’t even know what crazy new way of telling or producing the news is going to exist in five years. But I see myself there, wherever there is.)

Most depressing part: A comment made to a recent grad by human resources for one of the newspaper chains…

“She was like, ‘You know, I don’t want to discourage you, but if you can use your journalism degree to get into a different career path, I would recommend doing that,'” Rancer recalled. “It’s a really, really tight market for recent college grads in journalism.”

(My aside to that comment is that person should get out of this business pronto. There are enough nay-sayers and doomsday predictions from the peanut gallery. We don’t need people hiring and inspiring the next generation of journalists trying to deflect them from pursuing their goals.

To recent grads, my friends from KSU and elsewhere, there are jobs. Yes it will suck to do a job search. No you won’t start out at the Chicago Tribune. Yes you will be paid poorly. No you won’t get the holidays and weekends off. Maybe you’ll luck out, and it won’t be a long drawn out process, somehow I did. Maybe you’ll spend the next six months wondering why you didn’t major in engineering or considering grad school. Stick it out. You were drawn to this profession because you had a passion for it. If you don’t have that passion, spare yourself, your eventual employer and all those other kids who do have a passion by removing yourself from queue of people desperate for a job.)

Most encouraging part: On getting the future of “newspapers”…

“Newspapers might not be on paper some day, but these students, I think, believe that there will be some kind of newspaper industry,” Fox said. “I think what we have to do is really teach the core values of journalism, to be able to understand what is news, how to write it, how to get it ethically and accurately delivered. Past that, I think that we’re in a time where we need to teach that and then get out of the way. We need to let them lead and let us mentor.”

I was quoted in a similar article in the Beacon Journal last summer: “Journalism still a popular major at college

My quote then still holds true today: “I didn’t pick it because it was well paid,” said Meranda Watling, a senior at Kent State who is interning at The Courier in Findlay. “I picked it because I can see myself getting up every day of my life and being excited about going to work.”

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