is it a sustainable career?
I studied journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, a few lifetimes ago. If I were to be asked the question, “would you do it over again?” I would probably say no. When I graduated from journalism school (fondly called J-school), newspapers across the United States were closing because of the competition from television, as well as the cost of newsprint. It was virtually impossible to get a job, due to the numbers of experienced journalists, who had suddenly become unemployed. I worked as a freelancer for many years until, just recently, I obtained a Real Job. Because the path that I was on led to so many dead ends and impassible conditions, I would actively discourage anyone who was seeking a career from pursing this one. Honestly, I have taken a huge economic hit as a result of my slow-starting career. If you want to follow this career, you need to be passionate about it. Otherwise, you’re better off finding a career that will pay a living wage (which everyone deserves, by the way).
Once you find a job, however, you’ll find that it is very fulfilling. It’s more a way of life than a job. I have gone to many different events to take pictures and to write stories. These include parades and fall festivals (including Halloween fun), kayak rides, and so much more. I get to go to the farmers market and to community cleanups, to tree plantings, and to fun food events. In addition to depicting events, I share the stories of people in the community. I’ve written about cancer survivors of all ages, elderly war veterans, new Eagle scouts, artists, and gardeners. I have met so many interesting people, all with great stories to tell, and I am grateful to all of them.
The allure of journalism is the opportunity to record history, a journal of your community. The newspapers that we produce can be used as primary material for historians and, so, have great value, both now and in the future. But, to be a sustainable career for the future, it will have to adapt to the ever-changing technology and methods of communication. I hope that it does because journalists are witnesses to living history and are very much needed in the world.