First, a bleak piece by Ed Caeser in the Sunday Times on the realities of a career in journalism. According to Caeser:
Today, you’ll need luck, flair, an alternative source of income, endless patience, an optimistic disposition, sharp elbows and a place to stay in London. But the essential quality for success now is surely tenacity. Look around the thinning newsrooms of the national titles. Look at the number of applicants for journalism courses, at the queue of graduates – qualified in everything except the only thing that matters, experience – who are desperate for unpaid work on newspapers and magazines. Look at the 1,200 people who applied in September for one reporter’s position on the new Sunday Times website. You’d shoot a horse with those odds.
It includes quotes from members of what he calls the class of 2008: the under 26s nominated as Press Gazette Young Journalist of the Year two years ago.
But the piece lacks examination of new paths and opportunities in journalism. Adam Westbrook fills in one of the gaps on his blog:
Caeser gets one thing right: he realises journalism is changing. The advice he has sought, however, is for an era in the industry heading towards the grave. He is stuck in the mindset that to have any career worth having in journalism it has to be working on a national newspaper or big broadcaster (…) there is no mention of entrepreneurial journalism. Caeser hasn’t even thought about it.
The very concept that the next generation of journalists might take control of their careers, become the chess player and not the chess piece seems alien to him; that these ‘poor saps’ might see opportunity where he only sees despair.
So here’s my advice: if you’re just starting out in journalism don’t read this article. While you’re at it, don’t make yourself ill eating nothing but Supernoodles for a month (as I once had to) just to afford a shitty flat in Clapham. Don’t spend hours squeezing the desperation out of a desperate email to that sub on the Guardian you chatted to briefly at some conference somewhere. And don’t think you should give up just because you live in the North of England, or you’re poor, or because Ed Caeser says you should.
Instead, do this: Start looking for the brave, exciting new opportunities presented by this wonderful digital age we now live in.
Read Adam Westbrook’s post in full at this link…