According to Pew Research Center, there was a 23% decrease in U.S. newsroom employment in the past decade. Although five sectors were affected including newspaper, broadcast television, radio, cable, and digital-native news, the decline in newspaper employees brought about the most serious change. Specifically, 45% of newspaper employees lost their jobs. The only job growth occurred in the digital-native news sector. Due to the rise in social media, that sector’s jobs increased by 79%, but that was not enough to make up for the loss of other journalism jobs.
This is the news we’ve been hearing – that students should avoid pursuing a career in journalism. However, some are saying we should take another look at this career and consider the career field in a broader light. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the basis for the Pew Research, only considers journalism jobs to be those who work for companies that focus on the news. Also, BLS data may not include new categories of job titles such as podcaster or digital producer. Editors for websites like LinkedIn or magazines that sell products would not be categorized under journalism and therefore would not be counted as journalism jobs. Even the editors who work for LinkedIn would fit under the employment services category rather than journalism.
LinkedIn researched the same information, but instead of considering the type of company, they looked at the skills that are used. For example, LinkedIn considers job titles like reporter, newsletter editor, journalist, and news director regardless of the industry. Journalists can use skills like digital marketing, data analysis, and Adobe Premiere and Illustrator in other jobs not considered to be journalism specific. Also, many companies like those that sell products have an editorial branch but wouldn’t be considered in the journalism sector. Bloggers are good examples of this.
The type of company that you work for now determines the industry. Since journalism jobs are no longer as clearly defined as they once were, journalism students live in a gray area. “They’re not working for newspapers or TV, but they are still applying the same skills,” Daly said.“These are jobs where you are fact-finding and interviewing — pretty much a journalist.”
With the launch of Facebook in 2004, advertisers who previously supported newspapers started looking to social media as their advertising outlet, and the percentage of journalism hires out of total hires declined by 14 percent. Although print media jobs are declining, many journalists are filling digital media jobs. New hires in social media and content are increasing faster than traditional journalism and PR jobs are declining. In some cases, the jobs titles are just changing to titles like "social media manager" or "content writer."
The previous journalism path of graduating from journalism school, working at the school paper, getting in on the ground floor at a newspaper, working as a reporter for 15 years, and then becoming an editor has changed. Now the roles involve more social media and marketing. The industry roles have shifted to consider data analysis and how to engage with an audience. Most journalism skills are now used outside the newsroom. The business model has changed, and the trust in the media has declined.
Some journalists have taken jobs in other areas like marketing which have improved their skills and prepared them for the new zig-zag path the industry is taking. The skills that journalists learn like listening, improving the community, and connecting people to resources can apply to other types of jobs like social media management, community building, or data analysis.
Journalists are encouraged to find the common threads in their career path. Patterns will emerge when you look at your last few jobs, where you’ve volunteered, and places you’ve earned money on the side. This should reveal your core skills leading to a job fit job that you enjoy.
Now that the pathway for journalism graduates is no longer clear, students who are interested in journalism need to be more flexible. They might have to change positions or try something new. They should explore all the possibilities including digital media, podcasting, blogging, and online editing.
Feel free to contact your Right C3 Coaches if you have any questions about your career options. We’re here to help!