STUDY: Fewer People Want To Work as Journalists

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By Shawn Paul Wood Comment

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We can’t imagine why not…

If you recall, we just shared the news that your best friend in the media has the second worst job in America, according to CareerCast. That news sucks, and it’s spreading like a raging California wildfire.

Thanks to this study by the Pew Research Journalism Project, we now know that fewer and fewer people even want to try their hand at journalism. The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) data shows that, in 1978, more than 45,000 reporters were in the workforce. That number spiked to 56,200 in 1988 and 1999, respectively.

Wait until you see what the number is now…

newsroom-workforce (2)Here’s the chart from Pew. Stinks for reporters, huh? In summary, the number plummeted to 38,000 in 2012. In light of numerous layoffs at our local print publications, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics puts current number at less than 28,000.

That’s a big drop injust  two years.

This country needs real reporters: not entertainers seen “breaking” news on national networks but proven journalists who love researching, finding, and telling a story. What this chart says is that this kind of work is becoming a thing of the past.

Why?

Is it the advent of digital media? Is it deregulation and big media buying everything in sight and trimming the loose ends to the point that they are left with a mullet? Is it disinterest in the press? Is it desensitization of the public to the value of real journalism? What could it be?

HomelessSign

There will always be a place for good headlines.

Magazines are closing their doors. Newspapers are turning off their presses. And TV stations are firing the big dog G.A.s (general assignment reporters) for interns who can wear back packs and stay off-camera. Flacks, this is not a good thing because that is 17,000 fewer people you have to pitch (and pester, depending on how good you are at this thing we do).

Again, this country needs real reporters. But in the face of stories like this one, where could reporters feel safe?

Oh yeah–that’s why I’m here.