A headline from HuffPost Media this week stopped me in my Twitter-prowling tracks: “Employment Rates Are Improving For Everyone But Journalism Majors.”
My first reaction was to cringe. I’ve always considered myself capable of well-reasoned decisions. Prone to follow the logical path, I have a reputation of calculated intelligence.
So why was the most important decision of my academic career – to pursue an undergraduate degree in journalism – singled out as a seemingly embarrassing career choice?
It’s true: the odds aren’t exactly in my favor when it comes to a predictable job market in journalism.
With the decline of print newspapers and the surge in freemium, online news models, journalists must now enter the market with a secured internship or a potential job offering in mind – or risk getting swallowed up in the sea of unemployment.
Journalists-in-training like me are learning not only the basics of inverted pyramid structure and AP Style nuances but also the importance of networking and social connections. Because no matter how well a journalist can write, the business has become a who-knows-who arena of opportunities.
Eat or be eaten, as they say.
But despite these unfavorable odds of security and market prospects in the field of journalism, I couldn’t be more firm in my resolve to continue my journalism education.
Journalists are the gatekeepers of information – independent seekers of truth.
We ask the questions bubbling inside the human head. We are animals of curiosity with a desire to inform, to educate, and to entertain our audiences. We don’t just tell you what you want to know, but we tell you what you need to know.
My advice to young journalists: decide for yourself if this profession is merely a hobby or a lifelong devotion.
If you’re looking for a passive, ‘9-to-5’ work schedule, I’d suggest taking a different path. Those guarantees aren’t likely to come in a typical journalism job description.
But if you value the ability of language to shape and transform a community, stick with it. Dream up a destination. Carve out a goal. Give yourself a concrete reason for persisting in this evolving and unpredictable craft.
Take the responsibility of finding and discovering the truth of our world into your hands. Own it. Embrace it.
I am proud to call myself a truth-seeking journalist. What could be a more honorable job description than that?
Bethany N. Bella is a multimedia journalist studying at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Connect with her on Twitter @bnbjourno or browse her work at bethanybella.com.
The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.