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.
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.
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.”