I had an amazing opportunity to work at my local hometown newspaper shortly after college. It was decent pay for the small town cost of living. It was a great way to get my feet wet and really delve into my professional career. Since I was a Public Relations major I wanted to work in PR because... hello that's where the money is. Now most reporters don't go into the journalism profession to get rich, far from it. They get into it because of the love of writing and being able to be the voice of news.
News is not dead but print journalism is, in turn newspapers are going to be extinct soon. Think about it, when was the last time you opened a newspaper and read it cover to cover? For me, it has to be at least year. Since I am currently a marketer/digital marketer we on this side know that your percentage of leads coming from a newspaper will be at the bottom of your lead sources. Needless to say print as we know it is dead. Advertisers wont even advertise in newspapers anymore.
I met quite a few reporters and during the end of my editorship I told my colleagues I was going into public relations, I was told I went to the dark side. I said, "There is no money in newspapers, the only way you get paid decently to write in print is if you work at the biggest newspapers in the world." and with that I left. Something I said resonated with them because before I knew it they either went into Marketing, Public Relations or a completely different field.
The problem is a lot of these newspapers are being bought up by other entities and causing newspapers to let go of employees. I still have a few reporter friends on Facebook that work at papers and one story caught my eye. A reporter was kicked to the curb after another entity bought out the newspaper they were working at. I asked the question that must be asked, "Why are you still working at a newspaper?" Now I get it people have dreams and what not but when you clearly see that the dream you are standing on is sinking into quicksand, maybe it's time to think of plan B, C and D. Now I know this is not the first time this individual has faced this problem because it's happened to them at least twice in the career span. The response I get is "I'm not ready to give up on print, there will always be a need for it."
But will there be a need for it? These newspaper closing are a sign of the times. Think about it, when a breaking story breaks broadcast journalists are stocking Twitter for updates. Twitter! Yes because that is a real time search engine that now has the weight that any journalist use to have. The story breaks you hear all of it on social media and TV (if you still watch cable) by the time you get the newspaper in the morning it's old news because you have read all of it on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Now this former colleague of mine is putting limits on themselves because they want to stay within a certain radius around familiarity and find work at another newspaper, to which is own. However, you don't grow as an individual if you have limits, (ironically I just learned this lesson) much less will you grow as a professional. I know the love of print maybe a hard break up but it's time for you journalists who want to be journalists to go into a digital entity.
Newspapers are converting to the online market by being a reputable online news source. Even with the capabilities of social media, newspapers can go live and do live broadcasting. It's the way of the times and you always have to be ahead of the curve. This gives journalism students a fighting chance to be journalists in the 21st century. I'm sad to have to give you this reality check but if I don't you will be jobless and looking for plan B.
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