If your dream is to be a journalist, you may have heard your professor or friends say, ‘Journalism is dying.’
Some may say that it’s already dead. But wait! Don’t put the lid on the coffin just yet.
When it comes to a career in journalism, you may have to rethink your fantasy of pounding away on a typewriter with a fedora hat, uncovering the new Watergate scandal or living the life of Carrie Bradshaw.
The median salary for a reporter at a newspaper is $33,736, according to payscale.com. But then again, journalism is not going to put you in the 1% bracket anyway.
Newspaper and television news isn’t dead. But it’s definitely different. The news world is under fire today more than ever before, and undergoing scrutiny like never before.
Journalism is being redefined as we speak. In more ways than one.
When one door closes, another one opens
The Internet has opened up more possibilities for amateur journalists to cover the news. Just take a look on your phone, laptop or tablet. There’s free “news” everywhere you look. People with phones are posting articles, videos, blogs and an Instalanche of information every second, so people don’t pick up a newspaper as often. And why would they? Now our social sites are in the news business too.
There are an estimated 2 million blogs out there (no one knows for sure), and millions of articles are posted every day. Many are informational and pretty boring.
This leaves a big door wide open for those with talent in journalism.
There’s a lot of mediocre writing out there, and few know how to write an actual story. That’s where you come in. Smart, successful bloggers and content producers know the value of a good story. There’s work to be had here!
I’ve found that hiring managers tend to favor journalism majors for copywriting roles, because we know the art of storytelling. And that is HUGE when it comes to trying to sell a product.
Journalism majors, get ready
This article is not intended to scare you. It’s to prepare you. I was a journalism major myself once, too, and had dreams of becoming an editor at a fashion magazine. After toughing it out in New York City as an intern at various magazines (online and print), making next to nothing, it was goodbye Carrie Bradshaw one-bedroom.
I was devastated. However, I met lifelong friends, grew tremendously as a person and (significantly) polished my craft as a writer, as well as beefing up my resume to get to where I am now.
When I started looking for jobs I realized that there was a plethora of copywriting jobs. And guess what? They paid pretty well.
Although my days of interviewing people, going on-camera and writing articles that were seen in print were gone, I still was able to write blog posts, craft creative copy and ad campaigns, brochures and emails, along with other things. I learned a lot – and I didn’t have to give up my life to do it.
If you’re one of the lucky few who scores a great gig as a photojournalist, reporter or news anchor, awesome!
If not, be open to some of these roles:
- Book Editor
- Content Producer/Blogger
- Grant Writer
- Newsletter Writer/Editor
- Publications Specialist
- Technical Writer
- Public Relations Writer
- Marketing Associate or Manager
- Social Media Manager
Think of it this way: most major companies need a designer (or a few) and at least one writer to create new content and to reach their social media audience. You can be that person!
If you are a talented journalism major, don’t drop out. Just be smart, and be open to alternative opportunities.
The art of storytelling is never dead! And the state of journalism is only just transforming.