As most journalism majors can attest to, there is a common assumption that journalism is on its deathbed. Upon telling someone that you’re studying to be a journalist or a writer, you are often met with a disapproving look, a lecture on how there is no career in that or, worse, a quick subject change.
To those outside of the journalism major, first of all, don’t do that. Second of all, journalism is nowhere near dead. As long as there is news, there is a need for journalists and writers to report it. So, the next time someone says that your career path is invalid, hit them with these three discussion points.
1. People are seeking news more often.
In 2017, the New York Times subscription rate actually increased. The New York Times Company recently announced that it added 157,000 net digital-only subscriptions in the fourth quarter of the year alone.
This pushes the overall subscription to more than $1 billion for the year of 2017. This also means that the subscription revenue accounts for a whole 60 percent of the company’s revenue.
Although the subscription rate is rising, the print advertising of the company is, unfortunately, still struggling. Because many people prefer to use the online edition due to convenience and practicality, the Times is finding difficulty in selling as many physical copies.
Life no longer resembles the iconic movie scenes of walking past a newspaper stand and seeing the morning headlines splattered in big letters, but the switch to digital edition may be more practical in the long run.
As it is easier to publish articles online and there is no daily cap on the number of articles to be published, more and more pieces make it to readers every day. This is a plus for journalists and writers since the rising demand for articles equals more jobs and more opportunities to get published.
Digitalization of news also broadens the range of publishers. Instead of a few big names that dominate every newsstand across the country, readers nowadays can easily access a variety of newspapers and magazines, all at their fingertips.
Even with the increase of digital media, plenty of Americans still prefer to read a physical copy or get the Sunday paper delivered to their door every morning. Either way, the statistics of the New York Times Company work in the favor of journalists everywhere, showing that people are still interested in reading the news, no matter the form.
2. The news is proving to be incredibly important, arguably now more than ever.
In an age that the United States president usually tweets or releases a statement on social media before most of the country is even awake, timely coverage is everything.
Social media has created such an easy access to important events worldwide that headlines need to be updated every second to catch up with public attention. So much is uncovered each day that keeping up to date with the news is almost a full-time job.
On average, the Washington Post publishes 1,200 stories per day. The New York Times publishes around 200 articles per day. Over the world, readers are greeted by two million articles (including blog posts) every time they wake up.
Journalism keeps the country updated on the daily events that are happening around them, whether they are achievements worthy of celebration or tragedies that require immediate support.
It seems that everyone is always one step behind in their fast-paced life. However, without journalism, there would be marathons behind the everyday news.
Journalism is everywhere — on your Facebook feed, in your news alerts and hidden in places that you don’t even realize. If someone argues with you about the importance of journalism, suggest living without reading news or looking at Facebook feeds for one day. I promise they won’t be able to.
3. Everything happens behind the scene.
If anyone argues with you that journalism is not important, instead of saying anything, just sit them down to watch “The Post” instead. “The Post” is set in the 1970s and focuses on the uncovering of top-secret documents, the Pentagon Papers, and the battle between government’s power and freedom of the press.
Although this movie is set nearly 50 years ago, watching it gives you an eerie feeling of what is wrong with the current times. The lies of the government to cover up its corruption shine through in a way that leaves you feeling unsettled for the rest of the day.
In other movies about journalism, such as “All the President’s Men,” you receive the same feeling that there are so many things that you don’t know. The government is secretive, that is a given.
But the line between secrecy for safety and secrecy for their own protection can be crossed without your knowledge. These movies are not only historic, they mirror events that happen in your day as well, showing that nothing has really changed.
The country needs to learn from these movies that behind those big gates occur secretive events hidden from American citizens, but with the help of journalism, some light is brought to these topics.
Journalism is the bridge between government and society, without which transparency is nothing but a dream. As long as there is a government, there is a need for journalism.
Journalism is everywhere whether you realize it or not. Whether it is a printed or online edition, journalism is alive and well. In a world where everyone is constantly going 100 miles per hour, journalism is more important than ever.
To those who think that journalism is a dying industry, remember the news notifications that you saw as soon as you checked your phone in the morning, and think again. The news doesn’t stop for anyone, even if sometimes it would be better if it did.
So, for the journalism majors, keep writing and don’t be afraid to argue with those who tell you otherwise.