A changing field
Lakeidra Chavis/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
Sept. 23, 2013
Journalism is dying.
That’s what we’re told.
Yet news organizations are continuously publishing news stories and reporting on social issues—whether it’s small town America or international.
So if Journalism is dying, that’s not what we’re seeing.
A 2013 report published by CareerCast.com ranked 200 American jobs “From Best to Worst.” The study placed newspaper reporters at the bottom of the list. The website analyzed environmental conditions, stress and pay to determine place. Journalism jobs have consistently been ranked in the bottom-half of the list since the study’s inception 25 years ago, according to Poynter.com.
And let’s be honest, it’s not a job you can easily pay the bills with. Long are the days when people would sit in their homes and listen to National Public Radio or read the New York Times and sip black coffee at the breakfast table. The free and ready access of news has made it a competitive business.
The rise and increasing prominence of social media in our everyday lives, the way people access news is changing too.
Online and print media are now competing with aggregators including the Atlantic Wire, Huffington Post and the Daily Beast for readership and content.
In an attempt to engage people in an increasingly social media-dependent world, the New York Times online produced a multimedia report called “Snow Fall” about the 2012 Tunnel Creek Avalanche. The New York Times used slideshows, video and a prominent visually-captivating gifs.
Print journalism, on the other hand, is still trying to catch up.
In early July, Italian freelancer Francesca Borri wrote an op-ed for the Columbia Journalism Review about her experiences as a freelancer in Syria. Borri says that, “With new communication technologies there is this temptation to believe that speed is information.” She argues that today’s media content is standardized. “The crisis today is of the media, not of the readership. Readers are still there, and contrary to what many editors believe, they are bright readers who ask for simplicity without simplification.”
In this line of work, we always talk about how news travels quickly and dies fast. If it’s no longer relevant, the public will no longer care about.
The same can be said for news organizations.
If media cannot stay relevant and become fluent in new forms of social media than they will die. But this does not mean Journalism as a field is dying, it’s changing—which isn’t quite the death sentence it sounds like.