First, the bad news

As newspaper layoffs continue, and as some newspapers shut down or convert to web-only publication (like the Christian Science Monitor), lots of folks are scrambling to figure out a new business model for the news biz.

papercuts

For example, the American Press Institute recently held a summit on saving the newspaper industry. They reached no conclusions, but decided to get back together again in six months.

Others are questioning whether newspapers even have six months, and some are saying it’s time for a “Manhattan project” for the newspaper industry.

In the meantime, some newspapers are exploring content sharing. Some journalists are forming non-profit news organizations to do investigative reporting in their communities, like voiceofsandiego.com.

The upshot is this: If you’re hoping for a career as a journalist, you need to start thinking outside the box.

In a recent post on the PBS MediaShift blog, media consultant Amy Gahran offers some suggestions on that out-of-the-box thinking in Swimming Lessons for Journalists. She writes:

So where will today’s journos find tomorrow’s jobs? Here’s my take: Not in news organizations. At least, not in news orgs as we’ve grown accustomed to them over the last century. That ship is quite obviously sinking. While traditional news orgs probably won’t disappear entirely as a species, they’re getting rarer and smaller by the minute. They’re a lousy career bet — especially for established professionals with higher salary requirements and increasingly commoditized skills.

In my opinion, journalists need to start leaping en masse from the sinking ship of the newsroom and start working for search engines, nonprofits, think tanks, collaboratives, and other kinds of businesses and organizations. In fact, it might even be a good idea to trade in the label “journalist” for the more inclusive “person with journalism skills”

You can find additional articles, blog posts and commentary on the future of journalism and the news media on my Diigo online bookmarking site at http://www.diigo.com/list/cynmccune/journalism. I’d call this bedtime reading for aspiring journalists…except it’s more likely to keep you awake at night.

It’s not all bad news, though. Journalist and media consultant Steve Yelvington recently suggested that “maybe these are the best days for journalism.”

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5Ws & 1H revisited

Indexed

Indexed

If you’ve haven’t yet stumbled across the blog Indexed, you’re in for a treat. Blogger Jessica Hagy draws charts and graphs on index cards, then posts them on her blog.

I know, I know…it doesn’t sound like much, but her hand-drawn illustrations are often quite amusing and insightful.

Today’s Indexed blog post is called “7 wonders of the modern world.” In it, Hagy has some fun with that news writing standard, the 5Ws and 1H. Check it out.

P.S. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

Election blog post

Yes, we’re finally down to election day. So, in addition to the two assignments listed on the class schedule for this week, I’d like you to write a blog post about your election experience. For example:

  • Was this your first time voting in a presidential election?
  • How/where did you vote? (i.e., Did you vote at a polling place or by mail? Did you vote early or on election day? I’m not asking you to say who you voted for…unless you want to talk about that.)
  • What sources did you go to for the latest election results? (i.e., network TV, cable TV, online news sites, blogs, twitter, Facebook, text messages)
  • What’s your overall impression of the election news coverage? Was it good? Bad? About right? Overkill? Repetitive? Interesting?
  • Which election news sources worked best for you? Why?

Of course, I’m assuming that you will be paying attention to the election results. After all, this is a news writing class and you need to stay on top of things.

This blog post will be due by 6 p.m. Saturday, though you might want to write it earlier…while everything is fresh in your memory.