Journalism (newspapers/magazines)/Journalism today
As a 15 year old who loves to write, it`s my dream to one day become a journalist, write for a newspaper, and all of that. But, as much as I`d love to do that, is it worth it? Every time I mention about becoming a journalist, people say how journalism is "dying" and the jobs are quickly disappearing. My argument is that it`s just moving to the internet (even though I`d rather write for a newspaper) and that there will still be jobs, just maybe not writing for newspapers. So long as there`s news, there HAS to be journalists. But they say that because it`s moving to the internet, there will be even less jobs. I`ve even read article in which journalism professors are telling their students NOT to major in journalism. But journalism is the only thing I could see myself doing. So being a professional journalist yourself, what`s your opinion on the matter, and more specifically about majoring in journalism in college, and working for a newspaper in the next few decades?
I also am planning on being in the Marines for a few years though, after college, so would this hamper my ability to get a job because I won`t be coming directly from college? This is my plan:
-Go to a good journalism school (Northwestern, Syracuse, Ohio University, etc.)
-Once done with college, go into the Marines as an officer. Would being a Public Affairs Officer help, since they are sort of like journalists?
-Once I serve 4 years in the Marines, I`ll get out and look for a journalism job.
How`s that sound? I`m hoping having experience in the Marines with journalism will help. Will it?
Also, depending, I might go to a school that doesn`t have a journalism degree. If so, could I still become a journalist? Would a history or political science degree still work?
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my (lengthy!) question. I appreciate it.
There is no doubt that traditional newspaper journalism has fallen upon hard times. Jobs are being cut, newspapers are cutting back on coverage and advertising has shrunk. That's just the reality we face. However, is it worth it? I've been in this business for 35 years and would not trade it for any other. Newspapers are indeed becoming more Internet and digitally friendly (iPad, smartphones, tablets, etc.), and companies are working toward achieving a balance between traditional newspaper readers and Internet surfers.
Majoring in journalism is still a good option, but even if you do not major in it, you can succeed if you have a strong writing background. If you do major in journalism, find a strong minor as a backup, that always helps. History and political science are two subjects I love (I minored in history in college and originally majored in political science before switching to journalism), but those are areas that would limit you to teaching. So choose carefully.
As far as writing goes, any writing you do is helpful, whether it is in the Marines or at your local paper during the summer (if you have a small town paper, volunteer to do some writing, the editors are always looking for articles and would jump at a young writer's enthusiasm to do it. That would give you a taste of reporting and writing, and honestly, that is much more valuable than the classwork).
I don't believe that serving in the military for four years would hamper your ability to find a job. And working as a press officer certainly would not hurt.
Do understand, though, that the job market has shriveled up quite a bit and the competition is fierce. That should not be a hindrance, though. The pay is not tremendous, but even after all these years, I still get a kick out of seeing my byline in print (and now, on our paper's website).
Your plan is well thought out and should work, regardless of when you enter the workforce.
There are still young journalists out there making a difference in our business. Just google the name of Sara Ganim; she is the 24-year-old writer who broke the news about the Penn State sex scandal last year. She is 24 and already has won a Pulitzer Prize. So yes, there is young writing talent out there, and there will continue to be more.
If you need me to follow up on anything else, please let me know.