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    Traditional Journalism Job Cuts Countered by Digital Additions

    by Mark Glaser
    August 23, 2007

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    If you follow the world of traditional journalism, you can’t help but notice the seemingly constant stream of layoffs and buyouts at news organizations. But media observers don’t often emphasize the flip side: As newspapers and broadcasters slice their senior-level workforce, they are also quietly building their digital and online teams.

    For example, when I heard about job cuts at the New York Times Co. last winter, I took a quick look at the company’s online job listings, and saw a healthy supply of digital jobs still up for grabs. And while Tribune Co. has been in the news for all its devastating cuts to the L.A. Times staff, there’s still a selection of 85 interactive job openings at the parent company, including a handful at the Times. Similarly, the MTV cable networks have had far-reaching cuts and reorganizations, yet there are dozens of digital job openings listed online.

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    The staffing situation at traditional media companies is much more fluid than the simple cut-and-slash horror stories that play well in the press. The dire layoff scenarios at major news organizations are not as dire in smaller rural communities, where local newspapers and TV stations still perform well, or overseas where competition, audiences and ownership structures are different than in the U.S.

    Sites such as JournalismJobs.com and mediabistro.com are far from hurting when it comes to media job listings. Dan Rohn, a former reporter for the Washington Post who has run JournalismJobs.com since the late ’90s, says he is contacted by reporters doing the same stories on layoffs in the newspaper industry about every six or eight months. But the reality is that job openings are still plentiful — including print jobs at newspapers around the country.

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    Dan Rohn

    “Right now we have 628 newspaper job openings in the U.S., from Alaska to Massachusetts to Florida to Indiana,” Rohn told me. “It’s in small towns, and I think that’s because they’re owned by families or small chains that are successful and not being hit as hard. The big compainies, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, they are publicly traded and it’s a whole different ballgame. The small papers are still serving a need in their communities.”

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    Rohn says that big public media companies in tech-savvy and affluent areas like Boston and Washington, DC, push more tenured employees toward retirement and buyouts to save money, the better to please Wall Street investors and analysts.

    “You see the buyouts and that’s what gets the headlines, and then they hire digital folks because they’re trying to get the younger set, the technologically savvy journalist who doesn’t have the pay built up yet and has the skills of the next generation,” Rohn said.

    mediabistro.com founder Laurel Touby recently sold her media job board and training service to Jupitermedia for $23 million, proving that media employment is still going strong. Touby told me the level of digital job openings she’s seeing on mediabistro.com equals what she experienced back when the site launched during the dot-com heyday in 1999. At the moment, there are 645 job listings under Online/New Media at mediabistro.com, more than in any other sector on the site.

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    Laurel Touby

    “Most people sit there and bemoan the sorry state of traditional media companies and notice how positions are being cut,” Touby said. “But there’s another side of the trend. They might be cutting print jobs, but they’re also adding digital positions, and they’re having a hard time finding those people because — guess what? — no one has those skills.”

    Touby was floored when a large magazine publisher came to her recently for help in hiring a whopping 400 new digital positions over the next year, a prospect she says will be difficult because of the lack of tech-savvy applicants.

    Re-Training and Shifting Resources to Digital

    While many traditional media companies believe they’ll save money by pushing out tenured staff in favor of tech-savvier newbies, Touby thinks that’s a wrong-headed notion. She said media companies are pushing out talented people who could easily have been re-trained, and that training new hires can be just as time-consuming and costly. mediabistro.com offers classes for journalists to get digital training, and the site is reaching out to media companies to help re-train people, but is facing resistance.

    “It’s a hard sell because media companies have traditionally not invested in people, they don’t invest in management training programs, they don’t invest in any kind of training of people,” Touby said. “It’s a talent industry, so it’s like ‘if you’re not good enough when you get here, you’re out!’ You swim or die, and they don’t treat their people that well. They don’t invest in human capital.”

    One source at a medium-sized chain newspaper, who wanted to remain anonymous because of his position, told me his paper simply didn’t re-hire print positions that were vacated over the past year, rather than do layoffs. The newspaper has pushed people to take unpaid sabbaticals, and plans to hire seven digital positions in the next year. The source said that the decision to re-train print people for digital jobs depends on the person.

    “Re-training someone who isn’t interested doesn’t make sense,” the source said. “People have to be naturally curious about it, and most reporters are. Unfortunately [the people who get the re-training] end up being who’s been here the longest and who has the best political ties in the newsroom.”

    Many newspaper newsrooms are giving print employees more digital duties, or shifting them outright to work on the web. Robb Montgomery, a new-media consultant for various newspapers who runs Visual Editors, says that he’s seeing more shifting going on than outright layoffs lately, including at his old employer, the Chicago Sun-Times.

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    Robb Montgomery

    “They are planning to move four people from their online operation down into the [print] newsroom this fall,” he said via email. “I don’t know that they have laid anyone off — but neither are they really hiring either. The same crew was there when I left two years ago. What seems to be happening is that some people are getting new jobs to support digital journalism initiatives. This shifting tactic is happening in other places, too. Just about all the Canadian newsroom folks I talk with have been doing this internal shifting as well.”

    But with the layoffs, digital hiring, and shifting, are newsrooms getting bigger, contracting or staying the same size? At USA Today, executive editor Kinsey Wilson said the overall staff has “declined slightly” through attrition since the merger of the online and print divisions in December 2005. The biggest change has been in the duties of print people, who now do more filing for the web, more blogging and more combined print and web work on big stories.

    “In real terms, reporting and editing resources that were once devoted exclusively to producing the paper have been shifted selectively to combined print and online production — while the dedicated online staff has remained constant,” Kinsey said via email. “We’ve experimented with different models in different parts of the newsroom. Our Tech and Travel staffs are completely integrated. In news, we rely on a real-time news desk to prepare stories for the web; and we’re planning to do the same in Sports. In our Life section, we’ve had tremendous success combining our print and online graphics efforts.”

    While Kinsey wouldn’t speculate on how big (or small) the staff might get as digital gets more attention, he did say that there was “no question” that print and online editorial duties would continue to converge rapidly in the next couple years.

    Scott Bosley, executive director of American Society of Newspaper Editors, says that his organization does a job census each year at daily newspapers in the U.S. If it wasn’t for the growth in online jobs and new free dailies, Bosley thinks job numbers would have shrunk; instead, they’ve remained steady. As for hiring trends in the future, that depends on how well newspaper companies come up with successful business plans online.

    “There are a lot of tries and experiments going on, but there’s no clear answer yet,” Bosley said. “I believe that there will be a clear answer, I’m an optimist about it, and I believe there will end up being more people practicing journalism — not journalism as we know it, but journalism which is good journalism.”

    On the TV side, newsrooms might well contract in headcount if audiences continue to move toward online video and digital consumption. That’s the take of Steve Safran, managing editor of the Lost Remote blog and senior vice president of Media 2.0 at television branding company, AR&D. Safran says reorganizations toward digital have happened at MTV, Discovery Networks and NBC, but not as much at the local TV level.

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    Steve Safran

    “Most stations still fail to invest adequately in their web strategy and prefer to focus most of their efforts on TV,” Safran said via email. “This is especially odd, since there is so much overlap. Local affiliates should be hiring people who can work on the web and TV…More people are losing their jobs in TV than are gaining web jobs in the traditional media. That’s not altogether bad — there are so many inefficiencies in TV production and that process was long overdue for a mucking out. The challenge will be whether the traditional media companies can invest in themselves where the growth is now undeniable — online.”

    Global Differences

    While various U.S. markets, such as San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, have heated competition among traditional media and Net-native companies for online ad dollars, the same doesn’t hold true on other continents. Martha Stone, director of the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper Project at the World Association of Newspapers said that North America is unique in the world by having print newspapers losing circulation and ad dollars — as well as the pressure of Wall Street for huge profit margins.

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    Martha Stone

    The dark predictions of newspapers dying that plague the American media are non-existent in many countries such as India and China, where print editions have had increased circulation and ad sales. Even in Europe, Stone says, the push toward digital consumption hasn’t hurt newspaper companies that have had a different mentality and ownership structure than those stateside.

    “In Europe, not as many media companies are public, and the profit margins have never been as high in Europe as in the U.S.,” she said. “Gannett not long ago was making 30% profit margins and in Europe it’s more like 10%. In Europe, the government has a role and there are multiple owners [of media companies], plus the competition is not as great in Europe as it is in the U.S…We don’t see the same layoff situations in other places.”

    However, Stone said there were some markets, particularly in the United Kingdom and Australia, where digital ad growth was booming and print ads were dropping off — though not as bad as in America. I interviewed Stone on the phone while she was in Oslo, Norway, where she pointed out that media giant Schibsted had laid off 90 people last year from its print operation at the newspaper Verdens Gang, while also hiring many digital people for its news site, VG Nett, the leading news site in Norway.

    Stone said Schibsted was getting an eye-popping 50% profit margin for its online products. Poynter reported that Schibsted jettisoned ownership of TV stations in Norway in favor of launching online video sites, including a Norwegian competitor to YouTube called Snutter.no. Svenska Dagbladet, a Schibsted newspaper in Stockholm, Sweden, is actually hiring both print and digital people as its print circulation and online readership grows.

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    Ola Henriksson

    “The actual trend is that we try to mix our people more and more,” said Ola Henriksson, project manager and editor of Svenska Dagbladet’s website, SvD.se. “We have kind of a ‘superdesk’ serving both print and the web, but two different news organizations…I think the overall trend among big as well as small newspapers in this country is an increasing hiring of digital people. Some print jobs may be cut but most will be new hires for their digital editions.”

    So with news organizations here and abroad wanting to hire more versatile, multi-platform journalists, how are journalism schools reacting? Paul Grabowicz, assistant dean and director of the new media program at the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California-Berkeley, said that so many students were taking the Intro to Multimedia Reporting elective that the school decided to make it a required course for everyone.

    “This year we’re also going to have students in our core intro reporting class, which is required of all incoming students, do more multimedia and blogging,” Grabowicz said via email. “And many of our other courses are adding a digital component as well. So digital media increasingly is becoming embedded throughout our curriculum, rather than as a separate track. I think that trend will accelerate in the future, because it reflects the approach news organizations increasingly are taking, integrating multimedia into the newsroom rather than having a separate, stand-alone online operation.”

    Rather than complain about the job cuts at media organizations, J-school graduates are actually finding themselves in plum positions if they have digital skills out of college.

    “Students who are well versed in digital media often find themselves being placed in key positions in news organizations that are trying to ramp up their multimedia or online operations,” Grabowicz said. “So it’s not just that it’s becoming a requirement for a job; for many students it’s an opportunity to help lead a news organization in the transition to digital media. Which is pretty exciting.”

    What do you think? Are digital job openings counterbalancing some of the job cuts at media organizations in the U.S.? How does the situation differ from place to place, including overseas? Share your thoughts or first-hand experiences in the comments below.

    Photo of Steve Safran by Brittney Gilbert.

    UPDATE: I’ve summed up some of the reactions to this article — including the swipe by Nicholas Carr — at a follow-up post on MediaShift titled The Difficulty of Putting a Number on Journalism Jobs. Carr’s general critique is that I didn’t have hard numbers showing the number of new digital hires of “reporters, editors and photographers.” But while he offers up some typical doom-and-gloom numbers, they are outdated, generalized and don’t actually gauge reporters, editors and photographers in newsrooms either.

    That’s because those numbers aren’t being tallied by anyone outside of ASNE, who only this year started counting digital jobs in its census of daily newspapers in the U.S. So it’s hard to see any trends yet, and that’s only one media sector in one country. I’m much more curious about the state of journalism jobs all over the U.S., in print and broadcast and magazines, and overseas. If anyone has those types of numbers, please share in the comments.

    Tagged: digital journalist journalism newspapers tv work
    • Great article Mark.

      You quoted Touby: “[News orgs] might be cutting print jobs, but theyre also adding digital positions, and theyre having a hard time finding those people because guess what? no one has those skills.

      Could you give us a list of the skills news orgs are generally seeking? Are they mainly focused on multimedia and web design, or are they also looking for skills such as using feed readers, online community management, programming, mobile development, etc.?

      – Amy Gahran

    • There’s always openings at GateHouse Media, both print and online.

      http://ghnewsroom.com/news.php?catid=28&subcatid=30

    • Great read Mark. It’s nice to see some real analysis of journalism opportunities rather than the usual “old media is dead!!” rants that we so often hear.

    • How will cutting journalists and adding content management jobs stem financial losses?

      The San Francisco Chronicle cut 100 newsroom jobs this summer and is losing about $1m a week. The economic model for newspapers is being demolished.

      You have to follow the money. Adding jobs in one department doesn’t make up for the loss of advertising revenues. It increases the costs of doing business in today’s many-media online world which in turn increases the financial stresses on the business and increases the likelihood of failure.

      The fact is that the new media business models of today, cannot support the legacy cost structure of most of today’s established media companies.

      We have to find a way to capture the value that professional journalism contributes to society. Google AdSense and other ad networks don’t come anywhere close to capturing that value and returning it to the content producers.

      This is one of the toughest problems we face as a society.

      Media is how our society “thinks” and it helps us make the right decisions. We have some huge issues facing us, not only the political and international issues, but also global warming, aging populations, etc, etc. Without good media we cannot make good decisions.

      An army of citizen journalists can help to contribute to the creation of quality media but it cannot fill the information gap that the loss of professional media is creating.

      In the software engineering community there is a very descriptive phrase: garbage in, garbage out.

    • Tom,
      I don’t think it’s as simple as “cutting journalists and adding content management jobs” at many media companies. No association or trade group seems to tally how many total journalism jobs are lost each year or gained in the digital realm, so I couldn’t put a real figure on it.

      We all hear and see the effects of layoffs at traditional media companies and they’ve been going on for decades. But the untold story is that it’s just not the case in rural areas of the US and in markets abroad. The SF Chronicle is in a unique position, going up against digital media in *the* digital nerve center. They should be doing the most edgy and experimental stuff, but I haven’t seen it.

      You write: “The economic model for newspapers is being demolished.” Maybe for the Chron, but not in places like India, Norway or China. And how can you be so sure that the digital platform won’t ultimately deliver a workable business model for journalists? Last I checked you were making a living as an online journalist, and I’ve done it, so it’s not impossible. Maybe the old centralized version of the newspaper newsroom won’t survive, but an atomized, loosely joined group of freelance blogger/journalists might.

      Just because it looks different and operates differently doesn’t mean democracy won’t be served.

    • Spot on here. I think I figured this one out when I met a New York Times recruiter last year at the Online News Association conference. The recruiter was the online business editor and she sounded like she’d only been in the job for a few years – showed me the market is wide open and waiting for the taking. The real question though, how many journalists are going to skip the traditional media altogether and start their own sites?

    • “no one has those skills.”

      This isn’t 1994. You’ve had 13 years to build your websites, don’t cry nobody has the skills. Please!

      Maybe news organizations can’t pay enough to attract applicants. Writers with web skills can write whatever they want and get paid through any of the ad networks, negotiate with advertisers directly, etc. It’s easy.

      Goodbye paper.

    • Josh Rogan

      While it’s true that digital jobs are making up for some of the vanishing print jobs, online operations are run on a completely different cost footing.

      Here in Australia, for instance, the vast majority of online journalism jobs are peformed by junior people – many just out of J-school and some with only peripheral experience in a real media company. Many are not even journalist by training, the have migrated into these jobs from related areas.

      But they appeal to managers because they’re much cheaper to obtain than having to go out and hire working journalist. There are a few exceptions to this rule.

      Part of the trouble is that pay rates are not being set by editors, they are being set by product managers who need to pitch salaries at the very low end – unless its for jobs in areas that attract better advertising rates, such as business, consumer finance, travel and technology.

      And as Tom pointed out, there is no way that online operations are going to be able to support the costs associated with legacy cost structure.

      They can’t afford to operated foreign bureaux, cover big political events/campaigns in the way that newspapers do today.

      The bread and butter news issues traditionally covered by newspapers and networks have become generic news – you can get it from any old newswire as seen on any one of hundreds of websites.

      It doesn’t have the pulling power that it once had because it’s everywhere and consequently advertisers aren’t much interested in paying top dollar to have their ads placed alongside this content.

      And the other danger is that with instant and constant statistical feedback on reports and stories, the guys that run online are going to see – if they haven’t already – that it’s much more cost and click effective to have someone rewriting or reposting the gossip news than reporting on or investigating the “important’ issues of the day.

      There are a lot of things I love about online journalism but I can’t help feeling that it’s pulling the profession of journalism down. It’s like shifting from working at a five star restaurant to flipping burgers. People still get their fill, but …. you know what I mean.

      One final metaphor: Online journalism is a lifeboat but it’s not going to be able to take everyone from the sinking ship. Worse still, the lifeboat is not that seaworthy. What happens when it starts sinking? Where do we go?

    • Josh Rogan could be talking about the U.S. as well…

      When I’ve perused many of the online media job ads, I find most are looking for a person with legacy media experience, who also has knowledge of both building the back end and a “dedication to customer service” (as in you’ll probably end up the board moderator, too). And the advertised pay rates are often quite low–some barely breaking the $30K mark. That is, when they give a pay rate. Most often ask the potential employee what he/she believes she should be paid. (unadvertised jobs–those that one might find out via networking, often pay more…but that’s a different story.)

      But it’s hard to know what to say for a job combining old and new skills. Marshall Kirkpatrick recently suggested that professional bloggers command a salary between $5K and $8K a month–which would be great, when you consider all that actually goes in to the care and feeding of a blog (and I’m not talking about the back-end build either.) Yet most probloggers are lucky if they’re making $1k a month from one contract. That is, when companies finally decide to cave in and hire someone to do the work, rather than having the junior secretary, who also writes the company newsletter, do the work.

      Josh is also right about papers using junior-level staff or interns for online work. Positions like message board moderator were pretty good paying jobs in the early days of the Internet (I have a few friends who started their online careers in these positions and are now consultants.) But with money being scarce, it’s easier to put the junior staffer, the intern, or to even pull someone from customer service to do the online stuff. Because of dwindling revenues, newspapers are looking for any way to make use of who’s already there until things hit critical mass. But for many, the critical mass that would justify a decent salary hasn’t happened yet. Not in their eyes anyway.

    • Sure, there are some job opportunities for journalists with great Web skills. And the entry-level market isn’t bad. The jobs that are disappearing are the “destination” jobs — the ones at metro papers paying middle class salaries.

      Journalism school enrollments remain stable, but for how long? How many students will want to prepare for a career with low entry pay and rapidly declining prospects for advancement?

    • Nick Carr has an interesting post about this:

      Mark Glasers dubious silver lining
      http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/08/mark_glasers_fa.php

      Glaser tells us that, when I heard about job cuts at the New York Times Co. last winter, I took a quick look at the companys online job listings, and saw a healthy supply of digital jobs still up for grabs. What, exactly, is a healthy supply, and precisely what sorts of jobs were they? He doesnt say. He continues: And while Tribune Co. has been in the news for all its devastating cuts to the L.A. Times staff, theres still a selection of 85 interactive job openings at the parent company, including a handful at the Times. I followed his link to the Tribune interactive listings – there are 86 of them at the moment – but what I discovered was hardly cause for excitement. The 86 jobs were split between business-side posts (ad reps and the like) and digital production jobs, bearing titles like Senior Internet Administrator, Web Developer, Junior User Experience Designer Intern, Fall Interactive/Website Intern, Managing Director of Software Engineering and Development, Database Administrator, Internet Software Development Administrator, and Software Developer, Ruby on Rails. Not one of the openings, so far as I could tell, was for a reporter, an editor, or a photographer.

    • From a UK perspective, a lot of this is very familiar. Newspapers are shedding print jobs but online jobs (including on those same newspapers) are booming. And, as anyone who has tried to hire experienced web journalists can attest, it is hard to find good people. However, it seems to me that (in the UK) people coming out of college now are much more attuned to the idea of working online and have the skills to do so. This is quite new and will, I hope, mean that before long we have a generation of skilled and able journalists for whom the web is their first choice. I also notice that many of my former colleagues in print are keen to find a way into online. The problem for them is moving to a job that pays as much, when they lack some of the core skills.

      One final thought about the US scene. From a Brit perspective, it has long seemed that your biggest newspapers are – how to put this? – very generously staffed with journalists. How much of what is going on with print jobs simply a winnowing process that would have happened anyway, as a reaction to long-term overstaffing?

    • Although I appreciate the optimism, the evidence from research across the media industries suggests that the new opportunities offered by digital technologies are not only much less than the number of jobs lost, but also must be seen in a different context.

      First of all: the number one reason media jobs are lost everywhere (and especially “below the line” jobs in advertising, news, film and TV production) is the outsourcing/ offshoring/ subcontracting of specific jobs to external agencies (AP and Reuters in news for example), who are generally located all over the planet (but outside of high-wage paying countries). This kind of runaway production has become paramount and it is aided by new digital networked technologies that allow for “placeless” production.

      Secondly, the big shift towards “user-generated content” as part of the creative strategy of media companies (such as “citizen news” in journalism, “viral marketing” in advertising) can also be seen as outsourcing of work to (non-salaried!) consumers.

      Finally, the biggest technological advance in media work is the phasing in of vast networked content management systems, convergence of different elements of the media enterprise (multimedia newsrooms for example), and increasingly special effects and CGI-dominated productions. What this has in common, is that such technologies automate and augment human activities. In other words: the core function of these technologies is not necessarily creating better content, but cutting costs in the human resources department.

      I’m not stating there is no creative potential in a digital future for media work – I’m just arguing what lies at the heart of the digital “mediashift” based on the scholarly evidence I know out of media studies.

    • Mark, the fact that you and I can make a living as journalists doesn’t mean much in the context of the fact that an old media company cannot make a living in the new media world.

      I’m a journalist with a laptop in a bedroom (and you?). A San Francisco Chronicle company has 300 journalists, plus 60 people just to publish SFGate.com, its online site, and hundreds of other staff, office buildings, pension plans, printing presses, etc.

      No way can this cost structure be supported by new media economies. Take a look at Henry Blodget’s by-the-numbers analysis of the New York Times Company over at Silicon Alley Insider.

      Adding digital media management jobs won’t save the New York Times or any other media company–it adds to the costs of doing business. It will accelerate the demise of many media businesses.

      Simon: Yes, many US media companies have been way over-staffed, part of the job cuts is in relation to that; and yes, journalists need more skills, to become what I call media engineers, part software engineer-part journalist. Yet most journalists can barely type…they certainly can’t spell.

      Mark Deuze: Yes, these technologies, like many others, are designed to replace the work of humans. That is exactly why technologies are developed (not all) so that it becomes less expensive to do business.

      Disruptive technologies such as the Internet, disrupt because they are so much better than the old way of doing things. The Internet is a media technology and so that is where we see the disruption, in the media world.

      And just as in other industries that faced disruption, the PC/microcomputer against the minicomputer and mainframe companies–you can see the train wreck in front of you but you cannot slow down, downsize, change tracks fast enough to get out of the way.

      That’s why it’s called a disruptive technology and that’s why the PC/microcomputer wrecked so many computer companies, even mighty IBM had to reinvent itself as an “IT services” company to survive. That’s why the old media world is lost.

      Journalists will survive and transition to the new world but their employers won’t. And the new journalism jobs will be well paid and will be different, part software engineer part media professional.

    • Tom said: “Journalists will survive and transition to the new world but their employers won’t. And the new journalism jobs will be well paid and will be different, part software engineer part media professional

      Wow. Well said, Tom, Can I cross-post over to E-Media Tidbits at Poynter.org?

      – Amy

    • Shayna

      I have to agree with what’s being said here. I am currently enrolled at James Madison University in Virginia for print journalism and everything has been changing this past year. What used to be just news writing and newspaper production classes are now becoming multi-media classes. Our professors can guess what the future holds for students and want to adequately prepare them for it, which is a good thing.

    • Erin Leonhardt

      As a senior Journalism student at James Madison Univeristy, I find it quite interesting that traditional print media outlets are varying in their response to the trend toward electronic media, regarding staff positions. While some maintain the traditional cuts, others are investing in “human capital” and training those professional journalists who are at a loss for multi-media production skills. I am pleased to see that Mr. Glaser chose to include the section in his article about students and journalism schools and the skills that universities and colleges are beginning to recognize as vital for young journalists. It is encouraging to hear that students like myself who wish to stick soley to print journalism are being pushed and enouraged to develop varying multi-media skills that could, and most likely will prove very useful for our young resumes.

    • Erin Leonhardt

      As a senior Journalism student at James Madison Univeristy, I find it quite interesting that traditional print media outlets are varying in their response to the trend toward electronic media, regarding staff positions. While some maintain the traditional cuts, others are investing in “human capital” and training those professional journalists who are at a loss for multi-media production skills. I am pleased to see that Mr. Glaser chose to include the section in his article about students and journalism schools and the skills that universities and colleges are beginning to recognize as vital for young journalists. It is encouraging to hear that students like myself who wish to stick soley to print journalism are being pushed and enouraged to develop varying multi-media skills that could, and most likely will prove very useful for our young resumes.

    • Alissa Nagle

      This article directly reflects the changes occurring in the School of Media Arts and Design program at James Madison University where I am enrolled with a concentration in print journalism. In the three years that I have been studying journalism the courses have changed from year to year, and I have been warned about the importance of broadening my web, editing, and audio skills as an aspiring journalist. Learning the inverted pyramid is important, but learning how the translate the same story into a format suitable for internet readers is becoming even more important.

      The new developments in our program have been exciting, but also frightening, and this article has helped me see that the reasoning behind the changes is essential for me to obtain a job after graduation. I never thought that being enrolled in a print journalism program would entail such skills as digital and audio editing.

      “The small papers are still serving a need to their communities.” I can see the relevance of this quote due to a tour I took of a local newspaper near my school. An editor explained to us that they had recently made it mandatory for their reporters to submit two web updates to stories they had published online on top of the work they were doing on a story to be published the next day. However, she explained that she had learned that the smallest and most local stories held the most importance to the people of the community after a man complained that coverage of a local pie eating contest had been omitted in an issue.

      This example is reassuring to those who fear the complete extinction of newspapers, but not to me, a student hoping to obtain a journalism degree and avoid having to write those pie eating contest stories. If digital and internet skills will help me in my quest for a job I will enjoy, I am more than happy to broaden my horizons to get that head start in the work force.

    • Jenna Cook

      While it may seem like some traditional print jobs are disappearing, I like the versatility that it suggests with multifaceted jobs. Being a senior in a print journalism program, I can already say I’ve worked with programs that I previously wouldn’t have even associated with “print journalism.” While our program is trying to catch up with the multimedia skill base that is now being needed in our profession, I know that there will be many skills I will have to acquire by myself if I want further pursue this career. The article mentioned a program that is now requiring certain multimedia classes for all students in their program. I wonder with advancing technology if it will be hard for programs to keep up. My web communication professor often commented that it was hard to keep a textbook for the class that was current. Classes will have to be reevaluated every semester to provide students with the best opportunities.

    • Kristina Morris

      This article serves as the perfect tool for teachers and students in the Journalism field. I am currently a student at James Madison University where I study PRINT Journalism, yet many of my classes are moving towards a multi-media based approach. I am enrolled in a newspaper production class where we will be required to write blogs and complete multi-media based projects such as audio and video editing. Like this article, I believe that integrating digital and journalism in the JMU curriculum can only help the students to stand out.
      It was also nice to see an article arguing that print journalism is not a dying profession even with the increase in digital multi-media. As an aspiring print journalist I enjoyed reading about the different opportunities that digital multi-media has created for the print journalist, instead of arguing that journalism is simply dying.

    • Caitlin Whiteman

      I agree that this article is a great tool for both students and teachers at JMU. I remember when I first started SMAD and had to take several required courses that stressed a certain level of proficiency in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. At the time, I simply went through the motions in order to succeed in the class. But as time goes by, I’m starting to appreciate the fact that SMAD harps on learning such skills. Now, more so than ever, journalists have to be on top of their game. It’s no longer just about having great writing and editing skills (though they’re still obviously important), now it’s important to have multimedia skills. The fact that SMAD 322 has been revamped just goes to show how times are changing. However, I’m glad that this article doesn’t jump to the ‘print is dead’ subject. Instead, I was happy to know that multimedia training classes are being offered to current journalists to keep them in the game, even though the jury is still out on the success of them. It’s just nice to know that some organizations are trying to update and integrate their staff digitally. What makes me even more happy is that after this course, hopefully I will have the skills that papers are looking for now, and I will be one of those ‘technologically savvy journalists’.

    • Jamie Loveland

      As a college senior and print journalism concentration this article was extremely informative and helpful. It reinforces the changes that have been made in my own journalism program at James Madison University. The changes JMU has made are not only positive but necessary in order to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in this digital world. Potential employers are not only looking for candidates that can write, report, and conduct interviews, but also upload material to the web, take video footage, along with a myriad of other skills. This article confirms that higher education is moving right with the trend of the digital age. While basic print jobs do exist, the future of journalism really does lay in the hands of the next generation. That alone has allowed me to value the education and experiences I have recieved through my program that much more, knowing my hard work will some day pay off (and be put to good use).

    • Jamie Loveland

      As a college senior and print journalism concentration this article was extremely informative and helpful. It reinforces the changes that have been made in my own journalism program at James Madison University. The changes JMU has made are not only positive but necessary in order to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in this digital world. Potential employers are not only looking for candidates that can write, report, and conduct interviews, but also upload material to the web, take video footage, along with a myriad of other skills. This article confirms that higher education is moving right with the trend of the digital age. While basic print jobs do exist, the future of journalism really does lay in the hands of the next generation. That alone has allowed me to value the education and experiences I have recieved through my program that much more, knowing my hard work will some day pay off (and be put to good use).

    • Jamie Loveland

      As a college senior and print journalism concentration this article was extremely informative and helpful. It reinforces the changes that have been made in my own journalism program at James Madison University. The changes JMU has made are not only positive but necessary in order to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in this digital world. Potential employers are not only looking for candidates that can write, report, and conduct interviews, but also upload material to the web, take video footage, along with a myriad of other skills. This article confirms that higher education is moving right with the trend of the digital age. While basic print jobs do exist, the future of journalism really does lay in the hands of the next generation. That alone has allowed me to value the education and experiences I have recieved through my program that much more, knowing my hard work will some day pay off (and be put to good use).

    • Jamie Loveland

      As a college senior and print journalism concentration this article was extremely informative and helpful. It reinforces the changes that have been made in my own journalism program at James Madison University. The changes JMU has made are not only positive but necessary in order to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in this digital world. Potential employers are not only looking for candidates that can write, report, and conduct interviews, but also upload material to the web, take video footage, along with a myriad of other skills. This article confirms that higher education is moving right with the trend of the digital age. While basic print jobs do exist, the future of journalism really does lay in the hands of the next generation. That alone has allowed me to value the education and experiences I have recieved through my program that much more, knowing my hard work will some day pay off (and be put to good use).

    • Jamie Loveland

      As a college senior and print journalism concentration this article was extremely informative and helpful. It reinforces the changes that have been made in my own journalism program at James Madison University. The changes JMU has made are not only positive but necessary in order to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in this digital world. Potential employers are not only looking for candidates that can write, report, and conduct interviews, but also upload material to the web, take video footage, along with a myriad of other skills. This article confirms that higher education is moving right with the trend of the digital age. While basic print jobs do exist, the future of journalism really does lay in the hands of the next generation. That alone has allowed me to value the education and experiences I have recieved through my program that much more, knowing my hard work will some day pay off (and be put to good use).

    • Jamie Loveland

      As a college senior and print journalism concentration this article was extremely informative and helpful. It reinforces the changes that have been made in my own journalism program at James Madison University. The changes JMU has made are not only positive but necessary in order to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in this digital world. Potential employers are not only looking for candidates that can write, report, and conduct interviews, but also upload material to the web, take video footage, along with a myriad of other skills. This article confirms that higher education is moving right with the trend of the digital age. While basic print jobs do exist, the future of journalism really does lay in the hands of the next generation. That alone has allowed me to value the education and experiences I have recieved through my program that much more, knowing my hard work will some day pay off (and be put to good use).

    • Erin Venier

      I have been extremely worried in the past three years as to how I am to find a job after college with a print journalism major and what seemed like a dying art. Technology has always scared me, as I was always a pen-to-paper kind of gal. However, my university has more frequently been offering, and at times mandating, web courses to verse its students in the art of the internet. Though I met this change with a certain amount of dismay, I understand the necessity of it in tomorrow’s media world. Forcing students now to equip themselves with the knowledge to enhance and possibly save their careers engages them in the reality that their world is a-changing, and we had better hop on board or be left in the dust. It IS a necessity for future media, and I appreciate the ability to become more familiar with the processes of conforming to the web, whether it means the death of my pen and paper or not.

    • Meghan Patrick

      I am a senior print journalism concentration in a School of Media Arts and Design. I could not have read your article at a better time, as I am currently being inundated with information about the multi-faceted roles of print journalists. I have seen tremendous change in the three short years of my university education. My college community, in addition to classes in my media arts and design major, has stressed the necessity of acquiring technological skills before graduation. I was quite surprised to learn, upon entering my major, that I would be taking an equal to or greater number of technologically based classes , than the writing concentrated courses that I originally anticipated.

    • Meghan Patrick

      I am a college senior with a concentration in print journalism, in a School of Media Arts and Design. I could not have read your article at a better time, as I am currently being inundated with the message that my writing skill is of little importance to the job market, if it is not combined with technological knowledge. The multi-faceted role of a journalist, in addition to most professional careers, is one that is being stressed in both my media arts and design classes, as well as in the general education requirements necessary for graduating from my university. This change has been rapid, as exampled by the difference between the understanding of this responsibility (of technological knowledge)between students separated by a few years of college. I was quite surprised as a freshman, three years ago, to learn that I would be taking an equal to or greater number of classes based on communication technology, than the writing intensive classes I was anticipating. Through my conversations with underclassmen, I have learned that this was actually an expectation, for new students to my major and/or my university.

    • We have found the new market for online journalism forces the issue of content creation onto the table of many organizations. As a company who creates custom content for print/online/2.0 the dissection of the marketplace is proving to be new but efficient. Some of our clients are entirely turned off by quality of UGC. Some find it a valuable part of their overall strategy while others think UGC is the only way to go. In our experience, managing all three avenues of content creation has a place and we are hiring more traditional writers not less.

    • KR

      Tom Foremski is right on regarding the challenge facing us and how this writer herein is off. And re medium- and small-markets being healthy and not laying off folks – those aren’t the agenda-setting markets. The Farmington, MN Daily News ain’t setting the agenda on health care policy or watchdogging the U.S. AG like the big papers are. Nor should we depend on the free-for-all world of independent bloggers to set the agenda.

      Finally, I’m guessing lots of these supporters herein are under 40. Am I right? Because no where (including the main piece) is the cost of lost experience mentioned. And the main piece doesn’t mention that MANY of these digital-related jobs that should stop all us naysayers pay MUCH less than the jobs being axed or simply not filled. Yeah, we can find reporting jobs every day on JournalismJobs etc. but you know how many pay less than my semi-senior level job at a second-tier metro daily in my mid-30s? Very few. My salary as a senior writer, which was VERY average for a person with 10 years’ experience, is considered lavish nowadays save for the top tier papers and of course management positions.

      Which brings me back to Tom Foremski’s point about the model crumbling. And sorry young guns but this is about money and the silver lining ain’t so bright for many.

      K

    • Sal Iannuzzi

      One of the trendiest spots, i have found, to find alot of these newspaper/journalism jobs is via http://www.jobbi.com. I was quite intrigued when i saw their numbers of how many journalists were finding jobs. I relate this purely with the fact that often alot of online job boards are syndicates of major newspapers. Nonetheless, i thought jobbi was particularly terrific in this sector of the market.

    • I love this paragraph:

      Re-training someone who isnt interested doesnt make sense, the source said. People have to be naturally curious about it, and most reporters are. Unfortunately [the people who get the re-training] end up being whos been here the longest and who has the best political ties in the newsroom.

      It really applies to what I have seen in our newsroom (medium sized independent newspaper). People agree we need to evolve the “reporter” role – but no one wants to jump in.

      The managers don’t want to hire new media experts so it turns into “Yea we need it” – but no commitment.

      Good stuff!
      Tom

    • Dr. Mohammad Ali Shaikh

      The lesson of the history has been that with advent of every new medium of communication, many people have opted for the new one but temporarily. As the dust settles down, the old and the new media emerged side by side. This is what happened when radio came after the newspapers. In the initial days, radio was a fasination, but then after some time radio and newspapers just adjusted well in their respective places. When TV arrived after radio, the phenomenon was repeated and the radio was left like an orphan, but for a brief period. Samething happened in case of satellite television also. Now also this digital journalism will take its place in glaxy of media but rest of the media will also remain there for good.

    • Dr. Mohammad Ali Shaikh

      The lesson of the history has been that with advent of every new medium of communication, many people have opted for the new one but temporarily. As the dust settles down, the old and the new media emerged side by side. This is what happened when radio came after the newspapers. In the initial days, radio was a fasination, but then after some time radio and newspapers just adjusted well in their respective places. When TV arrived after radio, the phenomenon was repeated and the radio was left like an orphan, but for a brief period. Samething happened in case of satellite television also. Now also this digital journalism will take its place in glaxy of media but rest of the media will also remain there for good.

    • Dr. Mohammad Ali Shaikh

      The lesson of the history has been that with advent of every new medium of communication, many people have opted for the new one but temporarily. As the dust settles down, the old and the new media emerged side by side. This is what happened when radio came after the newspapers. In the initial days, radio was a fasination, but then after some time radio and newspapers just adjusted well in their respective places. When TV arrived after radio, the phenomenon was repeated and the radio was left like an orphan, but for a brief period. Samething happened in case of satellite television also. Now also this digital journalism will take its place in glaxy of media but rest of the media will also remain there for good.

    • Dr. Mohammad Ali Shaikh

      The lesson of the history has been that with advent of every new medium of communication, many people have opted for the new one but temporarily. As the dust settles down, the old and the new media emerged side by side. This is what happened when radio came after the newspapers. In the initial days, radio was a fasination, but then after some time radio and newspapers just adjusted well in their respective places. When TV arrived after radio, the phenomenon was repeated and the radio was left like an orphan, but for a brief period. Samething happened in case of satellite television also. Now also this digital journalism will take its place in glaxy of media but rest of the media will also remain there for good.

    • Amanda

      I’d like to point out that those “rural” positions in “smaller markets” are typically looking to pay a salary of approximately $25,000 (on the HIGH end). They don’t want to give a seasoned reporter a living wage – nor can most of these smaller papers afford to – I should know, I’ve toiled at a few. Next time you peruse journalismjobs or mediabistro, take a gander at the salaries (if you can find an actual reporting gig, as opposed to graphic design or photography). There are jobs, sure, just not ones offering much by way of a living wage.

    • People always hate to talk about when they are laid off. But as it has become every day’s news headline since Yahoo started it with cutting 1500 of its task force last year, now a need of platform has been in demand where people can express their selves in words how they are feeling about their company, whey the got laid off was that justified or not.
      And every thing they want to tell anonymously.And http://www.layoffgossip.com is providing you that platform.

    • Memo Corea

      I wish the major media outlets would publish info about the availability of digital media jobs so that everyday joes will stop thinking the media industry is going to hell. There’s an enormous shift in the media landscape that’s been sped up by the economic crisis. There are a lot of people out there that need to get with the program!

    • A good journalism job can be hard to come by in this economy. I have found http://www.alwaysajob.com to be a quality source for journalism job listings all over north america.

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