“What are you majoring in?” my doctor asks me after I tell him that I think I might be lactose intolerant.
“Journalism,” I respond, wondering what that has to do with this subject matter.
“So what makes you believe that you have the authority to diagnose yourself with lactose intolerance?”
I give him a confused look. I mean, other than the fact that I feel like I’m going to die every time I ingest dairy (pretty decent reason in itself, I think), I tell him that I’ve researched my symptoms and tracked my diet.
“You won’t get by as a journalist. It’s a dying field,” he snarls, as if I’ve never heard this before. He goes on and on about how I’m paying too much money to be in debt for the rest of my life and I should just save my time, drop out and start waiting tables now.
“…and you know nothing about research. Leave that to me. I’m the doctor.”
Well ouch, Doc. Thanks for the pick-me-up.
But how funny that Pew Research Center just released their annual State of the Media Report. Yes, research! And how great that the journalism field is looking up!
The Nitty Gritty
Digital reporting has been on the rise for years, but the report says that journalists from big-time news outlets are making the shift to digital-first reporting. Places like Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Gawker are more accessible to the general public due to Facebook sharing features, so even those who don’t go looking for news online still find it unconventionally. Not only are they consuming news this way, but they’re also contributing to it. Survey data says that 50 percent of social media users will share articles and around 46 percent will discuss the ones they come across. Mobile devices have optimized reporting for journalists and citizens alike. The dynamic of news is changing — moving away from print and broadcast, and into our pockets and onto our desktops.
So as traffic rolls onto these sites, they’ll need more reporters. BuzzFeed had six employees just two years ago, and now they’re up to 170. Bleacher Report has 50 paid writers; three years ago they didn’t have any. It’s an excited time for journalism and an even more exciting time to be a journalism student. We’re learning digital reporting now and going into the job market with the knowledge and resources we need to be successful reporters. So to those who say that we’re plunging ourselves into a dead profession, research begs to differ.