New journalism jobs mean less pay, lower values?

8 Feb

According to Mark Thompson, the general populace is now called “The Active Audience.” This is true. Average people who do not have journalism degrees are now blogging, using multimedia and sharing news via Twitter and Facebook. Pretty soon, some online news outlets may not even require a staff member to have a journalism degree, just a passion for telling stories. Or be skilled with a camcorder. In this era of online journalism, newspaper staffs really only care about getting a good story in on deadline, not necessarily looking at the quality of the story. Companies like Demand Media only want writers who can write a story quickly.

I think this may be one of the reasons why local newspapers are struggling. The North Florida Herald, once a prominent local newspaper, sadly closed its doors in December because of poor revenue. Unfortunately, money is needed to keep newspapers running, and ironically journalism jobs don’t pay very much. However, Patch.com has been much more successful. Patch.com is a sort of “content farm” organization that focuses specifically on local news in different communities. I still believe this is a kind of journalism. Reporters here are still writing about local news.

This shows that newspapers and websites alike still need a good supply of advertising, despite having a good readership. Quite simply, it pays the bills. Since we are in the 21st century, inflation has naturally occurred, so newspaper staffs need even more money to support themselves. As a result, more and more reporters are being laid-off. In order to curb this problem, Demand Media hires a lot of staff members but doesn’t ’pay them very much. Heck, when I worked at the Alligator I was paid a pitiful salary, probably close to $10 a night.

 

Mission statements are changing as well. Honestly, I don’t even understand why every newspaper has a different mission statement. Isn’t the purpose of all newspapers to provide the general public with accurate news? In other words, to serve the general public?

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