16 May 2013
It costs about $84,000 to attend the prestigious Columbia Journalism School MS program. There are businesses you could buy for less.
So even if your blood is printer’s ink, if you need to make a living, we need to look at the situation calmly and clearly. The Economist provides some sobering recent statistics about your chances of surviving as a journalist today.
According to “The State of the News Media 2013”, a report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Centre, the deteriorating financial state of news organisations has hurt their output. Newspaper staffs have shrunk by around 30% since their peak in 1989, and newspapers collectively now employ fewer than 40,000 full-time professionals, the lowest number since the mid-1970s.
Nearly a third of Americans told pollsters that they have stopped paying attention to a news source whose quality they perceived to be in decline. They might be on to something there. When half of local TV news stories come in at under 30 seconds, we are lucky if they show us pix of eye-catching cloud formations, cute puppies, and giggling grads, and don’t imply who or what we should vote for. But do you want to spend your life producing that fluff?
(On the right, above, the first mass-produced television set, late 1940s, courtesy Fletcher 6.)
Read more »