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Future of Journalism

An essay on the future of journalism by Abbey Dean, Missouri School of Journalism graduate student

I understand what you’re thinking. No really, I do. Like you, I’ve been there before. I was a young would-be journalist who wasn’t sure if I was entering the right field. My parents understood my passion, but I could see the glimmer of anxiety in their eyes when I officially decided to pursue journalism.

The future is scary enough without the doom and gloom so often cast upon the field of journalism. But I’m here to tell you that the truth is never as disparaging once you ask the right people.

What naysayers fail to do in spinning the future of journalism negatively is to separate the future of print journalism from the overarching field of journalism. I promise; there’s a big difference. Print publications are having a rough go of it, that’s true; however, there are still a plethora of opportunities for young aspiring journalists in print and digital journalism.

Consider how you’re reading this right now. On your phone? iPad? Maybe you even found the link to this article through our Twitter feed? With the proliferation of the digital age and social media technology, public demand has driven the desire for 24/7 access for news to record heights. For many publications, the goal now is to figure out how best to combine the traditional techniques of journalism with new, digital platforms. With this audience demand must come suppliers, and that’s where you come in.

So, what does it take to land your dream job or any job in the industry? Aside from a boundless curiosity, solid writing skills and passion for the field, you also need the flexibility and know-how to work with changing technologies. Nowadays, a working knowledge of video, audio and Web technology is required for most news reporters. In short, you need to be a Jack or Jill of all trades. Take a look at this sample job description for a newsroom position at The New York Times.

But studying journalism doesn’t just teach you how to be a good journalist. I’ve learned priceless skills that could easily be transferable to other fields. To start, you will learn how to write, write well and write on deadline; there isn’t an employer out there who wouldn’t appreciate this. You will also learn organizational skills and how to communicate with people from all walks of life, which will serve you well throughout any career you choose to undertake. Not to mention, all of the above are incredibly important life skills that are valuable whether you decide journalism is for you or not.

The field of journalism is a tumultuous one that experiences ups and downs like most other areas of work. But with these rises and declines also come new, exciting possibilities within the industry. Whether you’re interested in anything from investigative reporting to magazine editing, be reassured that there is a job out there to match your interests.

Remember that journalism will always be around, too–that’s for certain. How we choose to tell and frame our stories will continue to evolve, but the values that drive good journalism won’t. Strong journalistic ethics, transparency in reporting and an unflinching devotion to the truth will always spur the best journalism and attract the most readers. With these skills and values, you can become the next generation of muckrakers and digital gurus with all the old-school pizazz of Woodward and Bernstein.

Still not convinced that the future of journalism is quite this bright? Take a glance at some of the articles below to see what some of the industry’s top leaders are saying and get tips on how to prepare for your future.

Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, dispels five myths about the future of journalism.

Arianna Huffington, chair, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, discusses her vision of journalism’s future.

The Poynter Institute conducted a study on the future of journalism education. The results might surprise you.

The Poynter Institute has also initiated conversation about how to modernize journalism education for the next generation of journalists.

Discover 10 tips designed to prep aspiring young journalists on the road ahead from Forbes.com.

The Poynter Institute offers more tips and tidbits on how to become a journalist in the digital age.

Learn about a new, emerging form of journalism that could be a match for you from this article at Slate.com.

Huff Post College takes a look into how social media is changing the digital landscape.