Last Saturday, I completed my final portion of my M.S. in Journalism application to Columbia. My test was given to me by an alumni proctor who lives in the area. Afterward, we went to Starbucks where I peppered her with questions…for over two hours. Besides basically pouring out my entire history as a writer and my soul that lies with journalism, we talked about the program at Columbia and journalism itself. She asked me an interesting question in the middle of it all.
Does the future of journalism scare you?
My immediate answer? “Not at all.” I’m sure many people, including professors at Columbia and other notable journalism schools would challenge my answer. And maybe I’m just being naive when I say that the future of journalism does not scare me because I don’t believe journalism will ever die. Here’s why.
People will always, always, always want to be informed about the news. Never will the world stop caring about what’s going on around them and abroad. Never will there ever not be something to report that’s going on somewhere on this planet. And never will shows such as “ABC World News Tonight” or “Good Morning America” cease to exist. They will always be there because there is always something to “cover.”
Even though newspapers are closing down and the internet is become the main source of news, it will still exist, but just not in a hard copy format. People ask me, “why would you want to be a journalist? The internet is becoming the future of journalism.” And really, that is true. People are obtaining their news through the internet, but where do they go to get it? The New York Times… .com. CNN… .com. FoxNews… .com. And what do we find on these websites? Articles. Pictures. Did those articles and pictures produce themselves? No. Someone wrote them. Someone took the pictures. The news content we read on the internet will always, always, always have to be written and produced by someone. Who will produce it? Journalists. And who will these companies want to make those stories appear on their sites? Credible journalists.
I’m not in the paper or publishing business, I’m in the writing business. Again, I frequently get told that newspapers and magazines are on their way out of being produced. I refuse to believe that, because again, people are still obtaining their news from television or the internet. Or more recently, their e-readers or iPads. Perhaps we will no longer be able to hold a newspaper’s hard copy again in our hands, but we will still read them electronically one way or the other. If I was a newspaper printer or a hard-copy publisher, I’d be worried. Yes, that would scare me because I truly believe that soon hard copies will not exist so we won’t need paper publishers.
“Bloggers are becoming the new journalists of today; getting a Master’s in Journalism in a waste of money.” I’ve been reading this on many discussion boards regarding the Columbia writing test. And I don’t believe it. Because here’s the thing: anyone can blog. Whether you write well or you hate writing, whether you take pictures with a $2000 camera, or whether you use you cell phone–anyone can start a blog. Some, such as “Cupcakes and Cashmere” (a personal favorite of mine) and “Healthy Tipping Point” become so successful that these girls are able to make an entire career out of their blogs (and make twice as much a year as I do at my desk job!). But not everyone that has a blog (exhibit a: my blog) makes a career out of it. If we got rid of the New York Times… .com, or CNN… .com, and used only blogs that are written by anyone, we’d be frustrated with our news source. (For instance, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone and therefore, in college, was not a valid source to cite in any papers or projects) The best news sites, channels, and stations want educated, experienced, and CREDIBLE people writing their stories, shooting their video, or taking their pictures. Credibility is huge in journalism. And I am convinced that Columbia’s Master’s in Journalism students will always be highly respected, credible, and educated among the entire world of journalism.
What do you think? Does the future of journalism scare you?