Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is it all about $$$?

Romenesko's media blog had a link to this story - "For future journalists, it's cash, not causes" - in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how j-students are not interested in low-paying j-jobs. Please read and comment on what you think of the story.


Meghan C said...

I actually did not find the article surprising at all. Nowadays, I feel like all of these "Gen-Yers," or at least my generation of journalism students, are not majoring in journalism because they want to make a difference, but because it is a spring board for careers that will make them the big bucks. I unfortunately went into the journalism field knowing that I would not be making money- and I am ok with that. I love to write and I want to make a difference in someone's life. I don't need to affect millions of people with my words, but if I can change just one person's life in my lifetime, then I know my career has been successful.

It seems that today's journalism kids will rate their successfulness with their bank accounts. I, unlike these kids, do not feel like my career choice is about the money. It may be a foolish choice, but for some reason, I am going into journalism with morals (maybe not a wise decision, but it is mine).

Barry Thompson said...

Everything about that article irritated me.

First of all, anyone who gets into journalism thinking they’re going to be rich is a tool. I mean, yeah, you can make money in PR. You can make MUCH more in business, or finance, or even prostitution.

Secondly, the grandstanding "rah rah muck raking" aspect of the article was extremely pretentious. “Oh my god, these kids aren’t out to save the world! They’re interested in providing a comfortable life for themselves! How selfish of them!” C’mon now. A lot of the freelancers I know have to work in coffee shops, retail joitns, or restaurants on the side just to make rent. If that’s what I’m doing in three years, whatever. If that’s what I’m doing in 20 years, I’ll become a shill for whatever multinational corporation will take my integrity in exchange for cash.

Thirdly, I can’t stand it when conservatives moan about college professors being elitist liberals. As if being a professional smart person somehow means you don’t know what you’re talking about. Worse yet are the students. “Whaaaa, I’m 18-22 years old, but I can’t handle my opinions being challenged!” I believe Bill O’Reilly says it best; “SHUT UP.” Think whatever you want, but don’t act so shocked when the rest of the world doesn’t align with your hang-ups to protect the sanctity your fragile eggshell brain.

rachael w said...

One's thoughts are not their own the minute they post them for the world to see. When you act out and try to draw an audience, you should be prepared for any backlash that follows.

I agree with the girl who said that the Facebook was originally created so people could get to know each other. It's a shame that it's already gotten away from that.

evan said...

It's an unfortunate reality that people are going to be interested in money as well as the substance of what they do for a living. It's not surprising students would want to make a decent living. It does occur to me, however, that the rate of pay that these students are supposedly balking at is not actually that low for people who will be in entry-level positions. There are plenty of people who are older, have worked many years and earn less per year than that. These students need to learn that. If they had a more realistic view of what they should earn at the beginning of their careers, it would give them a chance to really contribute to journalism. And some would find they like to do what they do and would mature and change. Some wouldn't but at least we wouldn't have to worry this much about people going into the field of journalism.

On the issue of professors being left-wing, I don't wish to ally myself with the right-wing, but I have noticed that NU classrooms could be a somewhat hostile environment for a conservative thinking student. When even the teacher, or in some respects the moderator, in a classroom is openly biased in one direction, that is not necessarily good for the free flow of debate. I'm not sure I have yet had a teacher who is a conservative but I know I have had teachers who are liberal. I'm not sure if that is indicative of most professors political views.

M. Junaid Alam said...

The article isn't very substantive. It uses a few anecdotes about entry-level journalism not paying big bucks as a springboard to question a leading conservative myth about liberal elites - since as we all know there are hardly *any* conservative elites...

Frankly, I don't see why the author bothers trying to "refute" David Horowitz. The man is a ridiculous fraud; just visit the website he runs,, which is full of the most spurious and sensationalistic intellectual hooliganism imaginable - I especially love the chart showing how Susan Sontag is ultimately "connected" to Zarqawi.

Most tellingly, if the conservatives are marginalized in the media, then why are liberals so desperate to refute their arguments?

M. Junaid Alam said...

Should also add the JRN525 link is incorrect and points to an NU news article on facebook.

As for professors having a liberal bias - that's true when it comes to the arts and humanities, but certainly not business or economics.

The point is, the liberal arts liberal bias doesn't necessarily prove anything. For the predominance of liberalism in liberal arts academia to mean anything, one has to prove conservatives are actually ousted, ostracized, or thrown out of academia.

The reality is conservatives aren't exactly languishing in Palestinian refugee camps after being witch-hunted out of English or journalism departments. They just mostly choose other in which people make more money.

gregw said...

People want to make money? Really? That's very surprising!

I think this columnist is just upset that people don't want to be as "hardcore" as "real" journalists. Yes, some people major in journalism only to enter a career in public relations, but that's because journalism departments teach public relations!

Sure, it's unfortunate that people are more concerned with salary, but that's just a reflection on our culture. Greed and materialism are valued and social responsibility doesn't do well in the marketplace.

Then again, it's understandable that people don't want to take low paying jobs knowing they will have to pay back their exorbitant student loans for years to come.

On the issue of liberal professors... well, what does that mean? People are labeled as liberals far too often. The Christian right in particular is notorious for this. Maybe professors are "liberals" because they are highly educated, and can see how completely ridiculous some "conservatives" are? Maybe those liberals should stop being such smarty pants.

Lauren B. said...

Let's be realistic - no one wants to be paying off their student loans until the age of 40. So of course we will opt for the higher paying job fresh out of college, such as marketing, public relations or advertising. These jobs will no doubt change our lives but then some of us will probably hit a point when we don't exactly feel fulfilled.

Eventually, we will realize the journalistic part of journalism, (writing), is what we have really yearned for all of these years. Then we will make the job switch. We will most definitely take a pay cut and we might even have to relocate. But we will be happy. Why? Because we enjoy writing, the chase, the story and being the government's top watchdog.

Then again, not every journalism major wants to write. And this industry would certainly not survive without our PR, marketing and advertising agents. Someone has to do it.

And who's to say that a journalist can't make a better- than-decent living by writing for a newspaper or another publication? It's entirely possible - they just have to stick with it. That is why they invented the promotion. To give good, dedicated and hard-working people more money.

So I don't see the need for anyone to worry about the future of journalism. Every journalism major knew what they were getting into when they checked the journalism box instead of the international business box on the college acceptance applications.

Conor N said...

If whoever said that the future of democracy is in danger because students are choosing careers as party planners didn't mean to overstate it, he failed miserably. Look, everyone goes to college and spends an absurd amount on tuition with the expectation that they are going to get a good job when they graduate that they can support themselves with and make a good living. As a journalism major, I understand I may not make the same amount of money as some of my engineering or business friends, but I wanted to choose a career in which I can be write, be creative and fresh and maybe make a difference somewhere along the way. I don't know that they can say the same. I don't expect to make a lot of money coming out of college, I don't think many people do. If I can do what it is I enjoy doing and make a decent living thats fine, if somewhere down the road I decide I need to go in another direction, thats fine too. As for the dangerous trend of "liberal" professors on college campuses, I think that line is getting a little bit old. I want my professors to teach with from their own perspective with their opinions and experiences. How else can you learn?

LisaP said...

It would be interesting to survey journalism students who've done co-op and find out what field they worked and their reasons for choosing that direction. I've known journalism students that, while still being completley supported financially by their parents, have taken well paying jobs in PR firms and hated it. It seems odd students wouldn't take that sort of an oppurtunity and seek out jobs that offered more substance rather than more money. Co-op does have some flaws and one of them is that students, who don't necessarily need the money, use it for the wrong reasons.

Taryn K. said...

When I was deciding on my first co-op, I thought, "Well I really should go down the path that will keep my pockets filled so maybe one day I can pay off all these student loans." By accident I was stuck with an unpaid internship at a city magazine. I was convinced that PR was what I wanted to do and print journalism was definitely not going to be part of my future.
On my last day of co-op, the magazine's managing editor and editor-in-chief took me out to lunch and basically told me that I should not go into PR (they "couldn't see me doing it" ... maybe it was my awful telephone skills) but they thought I really had a talent and potential future in culinary journalism. It was really encouraging and made me change my future plans completely.
I thought about it: a future of unfulfilling work and tons of money or a future in which I have fun and fulfilling job, and while I may not be making a ton of money, I'd probably be a lot happier.