Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nail in the coffin

I read an article in the New York Times yesterday that quite nearly, almost entirely, very near completely dissuaded me from seeking a career in journalism. The article is about burnout among young journalists in the world of online media, and you can read it here

Let me pull an illustrating quote: "Young journalists who once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story are instead shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news--anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way."

And now that the internet is able to quantify interest by page views of a particular writer's story, some papers and magazines are paying their staff on that basis. Testifying to the stress, my friend and fellow journalism classmate Jean Spencer, who interned at the Wall Street Journal last spring, said that for the first few weeks she had a cathartic cry after each grueling day.

The article quotes a journalism teacher who says, "When my students come back to visit, they carry the exhaustion of a person who's been working for a decade, nor a couple of years."

This topic is on the high stress of internet media specifically, but almost all media is on the web now, so the exceptions are probably few. I still want to write, so my education wasn't for naught, but do I want a job like the ones in this article? Hell No.

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