Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Journalism - a career fit for heroes

Kim Fletcher poses a question in the Media Graun this week.

"The question most people ask when they discover you work in newspapers is: "How do you decide what to write about?" The second question is: "My son/daughter is thinking of being a journalist. Would you recommend it?""

He then considers:
"What if papers are dying? Surely no responsible parent would promote a moribund industry to his child? The two consistent messages of hope are that papers have years in them yet and that no one believes the new digital world can do without journalism. The medium changes but the craft continues. Worryingly, though, papers do not need such big staff and the internet will not match the wage bills of traditional media."

What's fascinating is what he leaves out. The conclusion he doesn't see. It always surprises me that the Media Guardian and Press Gazette have a view of "journalism" that begins and ends with newspapers. Most journalists in this country work for magazines. Everything from Tripe Dressers Gazette to Hello! and Motor Cycle News. And Insider. In my experience there are good and bad work places, but ultimately they are what you make them.

Magazines that cover special interests or professional communities are more likely to be the defining reference points for people than the places they live. Sad, but true. The success of a magazine title is always how it serves a community. The failure of newspapers is always how they do not.

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