I spoke at the J-School (that’s “journalism school” for the uninitiated) at Columbia, which I’m told is the #1 J-School in the world. Wow, how cool it was to speak at the #1 school… !
As cool as it was, I couldn’t shake this feeling of “what are these people going to do for a living?” Perhaps some of those very sharp journalists were going to school just to learn, and not for their career advancement (here’s a contraversial post with hot comments about this idea). But I’m guessing that most of them are there for there for their careers.
I asked myself then, as I do now, “what careers? What’s going to be left of that ‘industry’ in the next few months, or two years??”
I feel like it’s a big fat pink elephant, and wonder how much discussion journalists have about this very topic, especially in school.
Here’s an article from two days ago on CNN.com, titled Newspapers fold as readers defect and economy sours. It talks about the RIP-status of the Rocky Mountain News, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the LA Times and Chicago Tribune parent company bankruptcy, news about the Ann Arbor (Michigan) newspaper cutting back… this is not the beginning (we’ve seen this a lot over the last year) and it won’t be the end.
I almost felt guilty because I haven’t had a newspaper subscription for years. But I knew this wasn’t something for me to feel guilty about. I didn’t cause this ending.
Back to the individuals and careers affected. What’s a journalist, or aspiring journalist, to do? They aren’t going to pitch to newspapers, I bet…
What would you do? Or if it was your kid who was finishing up school (that you were paying for), what would you advise them to do?