Should Graduating Journalists Be Worried?

Illawarra’s local newspaper, the Mercury, is undergoing heavy cuts to jobs, losing potentially half their staff in budget cuts, which will result in the newspaper being seriously limited to what they can report on. The lack of jobs for journalists in traditional newsrooms is not surprising, Margaret Simons writes about how there are still plenty of jobs for journalists, but just not in traditional news rooms.  “If being a journalist meant working in a traditional newsroom, the next generation would have reason to be concerned. But it doesn’t and they don’t.

Dianna Bossio writes however, that graduating journalist students should be worried about entering an industry where there’s large change from the traditional newsroom to a more digital world. She explains that understanding the digital side of journalism is important in journalism students, “young graduates actually have a distinct advantage over experienced applicants. They live in the digitised, networked social media environs that media practitioners so desperately want to understand.

Having a strong understanding of the digital world will set graduates apart from the rest

Kylar Loussikian from Crikey looks at the statistics of journalism graduates and journalists with jobs, observing a 13% decrease in print journalists since 2006 to about 5500, and that number is expected to decrease more with the amount of current budget cuts soaring through Australian Newspapers. Kylar also writes that the amount of enrolments at the universities he received statistics from has increased from 2006 each year, with 1750 enrolling in 2012.

The industry of journalism is undergoing a massive change in how it works, the traditional newsroom is getting the cold shoulder as it’s audience moves to online sources, making jobs redundant. Graduating into a field with constantly lowering amounts of jobs is not exactly a smart and safe life decision, but graduates these days are entering the workforce with a large understanding of digital culture and an understanding for digital elements that most people aren’t aware of, that will make them stand out in traditional newsrooms, and the modern online-journalism outlets.

Citizen Journalism

A woman passing a serious car accident snaps a smartphone picture and posts it on her Facebook chat site with the caption, ‘bingle on the highway, hope everyone is okay’.”

In today’s society, that would be considered not only news, but an act of journalism. Documenting events and posting about them online for the public to read or see. The internet, and social media, has forever changed the concept of journalism, and has birthed something new: Citizen Journalism. To compare the two methods, Kate Hill writes for ABC South East SA that her branch of professional journalists only have 2000~ followers online, while a ‘non-professional’ social media page called ‘Limestone Coast Community News’ has 8,300. The owner of the page, Mr Lynagh describes the popularity of the page as “mind-blowing”.

Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and especially Twitter, all allow us to broadcast ourselves and our stories to whoever is listening. The term ‘Snapchat Journalism‘ has even been coined, since it’s an effective tool in recording, broadcasting and sharing your stories all across the globe.

Chris Shaw, the editor for ITN Productions says, “Social networks are opening up whole new vistas for documentary filmmakers“, and goes on to explain the benefits of citizen journalism in terms of his documenting work. Kate Bulkly from The Guardian writes about the possible benefits and negative aspects of citizen journalism, and focuses around documentarians who had used found footage from events in the work. Aside from Chris Shaw, she also interviews Jeff Deuthman who claims “The new technologies certainly open up new possibilities for filmmaking“.

Dan Gilmore from The Guardian as well writes about these issue, but changes his focus to the Ferguson Shootings in America, and how the public “turned the notion of ‘see something, say something’ back on the state, via a digital tool of enormous power“.

With today’s technology, documenting and sharing the world is at your fingertips

Whether if you’re aware of it or not, by sharing what’s going on around you online to other people, you’re actively participating in Citizen Journalism, one story at a time.