Posts Tagged ‘J-Week’

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Where the Jobs are.

March 23, 2010

Tonight was the “Where the Jobs are” lecture as part of J-Week at WVU. The guest lecturer, John Harris, the editor in chief of politico.com, was tasked with informing a group of students and staff, simply, where the jobs are in the changing world that is the media. As the creator of his own blog, he should be well versed in the ways an aspiring journalist might approach seeking out the beginnings of a career in the media. However, there was little insight to be found, really.

Granted, Harris did an excellent job of explaining how he got started with his blog, but though he preached the importance of optimism throughout his lecture, he left little hope for we younger folks. Sure, it may have been simple for an experienced reporter and editor from the Washington Post to find a place in the blogosphere and develop his own niche, but what about the rest of us? If the roof is going to cave in on the traditional structures of the news business, where can we, as young journalists just starting out, get the experience we need to develop a reputation among our colleagues and our audiences? Like Harris said, news outlets are falling short on their end when it comes to building a new generation of journalists. There is no more room for growth in the traditional media, and certainly no room for the specialization necessary to take on blogging. So where are we to get the specialization and experience we need to set our careers in motion? And even if we can, where are the jobs? This question never got answered.

It’s obvious that the ideas Harris touts as so important to success do have their necessity in gaining experience and standing in the media, and especially in the online media. Impact, efficiency, optimism, and specialization are all clearly necessary, but what Harris doesn’t tell us is how to develop these aspects of our professional selves. He says we need to specialize, but how does a journalist do that without an audience? without an editor? without a platform to support them? Sure, we can all start blogs, but for the most part, we’re shouting into the darkness. We, as individuals, don’t have the funds or time (since we have to work, afterall) to promote our blogs, and take them mainstream as politico has. We can’t just go out and hire the best journalists to work for us – and we don’t have a way of becoming the next best journalist, since there are no traditional jobs left out there for us newcomers. So there goes impact and efficiency, and probably with it optimism and specialization. All in one fell swoop.

So where does that leave us? Where are the jobs? Where are the new places that are willing to give newcomer journalists a chance? To help them develop their specialization? their impact? their efficiency? their optimism? I sure would like to know, ’cause it doesn’t sound like politico is willing to give us a chance – given that their editor says he only hires really good, experienced journalists?

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