Students shouldn't worry about jobs in journalism

A digital shift may have some students worrying about their futures

The days of the local paper boys riding their bicycles around cities in the early hours of the morning to deliver newspapers are essentially over. With a strong transition to online news, it is becoming getting less common to sit at the kitchen table to read the day’s paper.

Modern society revolves around instant gratification, especially when breaking news can reach people’s smartphones in a matter of seconds via Twitter, Facebook or any other online news outlet. 

The field of journalism is ever-changing, and recent technological advances are creating new ways for content producers to relay information to audiences around the world.

However, with new technology comes a decline in traditional newspaper reporting jobs and perhaps the emergence of anxiety among prospective journalists who will be entering the job market in the coming years.

ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has consistently been ranked as one of the top journalism schools in the U.S. and produces talented journalists each year.

But job titles look much different than they did even a few years ago and might surprise some students who came into the program anticipating a traditional reporter position at a newspaper upon graduation.

Courtney Kane

Numbers taken from Pew Research Center. Graphic published on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

Although those jobs are dwindling, that does not mean those students don’t have other options.

“There will still be writing jobs,” Mike Wong, director of career services for the Cronkite school, said. “... It’s just going to take a different form.”

It is up to news organizations and the journalists themselves to figure out how to reach the younger demographics, which are consuming news through new mediums.  

“The (journalism) process is still going to be the same,” Wong said. “The core values of journalism are still going to be the same whether you’re a traditional newspaper reporter or producing digital content for a website or for whoever you’re writing for. It’s just going to be published on a different platform. Instead of print or ink, perhaps it’s going to be on your tablet or phone.”

As of August 2017, 67 percent of adults in the U.S. acquire some portion of their news from social media, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. 

People are constantly surrounded by technology and electronics in their daily lives, so the most effective way to determine how to reach those audiences is by listening to them.

Young people know how other young people get their information and can help companies devise strategies on how to efficiently get it to them, which is the most important facet of journalism. 

Journalists can’t afford to be one-dimensional. They need to be prepared to adapt to new challenges they will inevitably face in the field and be as versatile as possible. There is no telling what kind of opportunities might arise, so it’s crucial to gain experience in as many areas as possible.  

“In this profession, you could look really good on a resume,” Wong said. “But you also need to have the clips, writing samples and portfolio to back it up, and that’s what you’re going to be judged on. As those traditional newspaper jobs are in decline, there’s a whole different space where digital content jobs could be on the increase.”

Experience is invaluable. Whether it’s interning at an organization or freelancing, the experience only helps build cases as to why certain graduates deserve job positions over others.      

There is a whole new job market available to recent graduates, so there is no reason for students to worry about their futures.

As long as journalism students across the U.S. take advantage of the opportunities offered at journalism schools before entering the work force, they should have no trouble finding employment when they enter the real world. 


Reach the columnist at Steven.Slobodzian@asu.edu or follow @PSlobodzianASU on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. 

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