Four years ago when I began taking my journalism courses I had hopes that upon graduation there would be jobs available for me. Never did I believe that within that time the entire concept of journalism would change as well as the business market.’
Recently, the Tribune Company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy stating that it is $13 billion dollars in debt. For some this may not come as a surprise because we have seen a handful of large corporations file for bankruptcy like a domino effect all through out the year. Yet for journalism students, this is more than just another corporation.
The Tribune, which owns the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, nine other daily newspapers, 23 television stations and the Chicago Cubs serves as a symbol of a prominent news corporation that for decades has survived through many economic trifles, yet the times could not have been worse for a recession.
Amidst the constant change of digital technology that affects almost every aspect of the media, professional journalist are struggling to adapt and master video and audio skills that have begun to dominate new forms of journalism. For many these simple skills have become vital in order to secure their rapidly vanishing jobs in today’s market.
For college students who plan to pursue a career in journalism this may feel discouraging, especially since our entire education has been based on teaching traditional forms of journalism. Not until recently has the journalism department tried to effectively incorporate new media courses into the program that teaches students how to use and produce multimedia packages that are necessary to fulfill both print and online needs.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that just like any other industry, journalism is a business and like every large market in our economy it also has been hit. For journalists this just comes at a bad time. This is all due to cause and effect.
In the news industry how it’s always worked is that news media companies majorly depend on advertisements for profit. However, with the economy in a recession many businesses are forced to cut back on advertisement spending given that they, too, have lost profits and or do not have enough money to spend since they are also facing possible bankruptcy.
Regardless, our outlook should not be to give up and call it quits because the business outlook of the media is suffering. Instead this is a time when we must call for reforms in the way our market has been managed and to look for new ways to make up for the losses we have suffered.
At a time when 2 million jobs have been lost already and daily reports show that more jobs have been cut, it is fair to say that we have hit the trough of our economic cycle, and there is only one way to go: up. Our field has been bombarded with constant changes and may seem extremely unstable, yet this is always the process before stability cools over the turmoil.
Although the media industry has suffered through many ups and downs and its future looks bleak, journalists have always been taught to be more flexible and to quickly adapt to the situation, just like what is demanded from them during their practice in the field. It is safe to say that the jobs will always be there for journalists. Perhaps not as it has been for the past hundred years, but the role still needs to be filled no matter what the form of communication is.
The need for the government watchdog has never been more important. During times when government spending is at their peak, with a $700 billion buy out for the housing market and another possible $15 billion buy out for the car industry, journalists must be there to secure that none of the money is being used by corrupt politicians for their own personal gain.
If that is not enough, the possibility of President-elect Barack Obama’s ‘Economic Recovery Plan’ being passed by Congress allowing the possibility of another $400 to $700 billion to be spent on resurrecting the economy, is safe to say that the jobs for journalists are still in demand if not in dire need.