Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Future of Journalism: A Profession for Saints and Masochists?

By which I mean if it doesn't pay, who will play? When I disengaged from academia the first time -- and that's a story that changes in the telling with the mood or season -- I got a job as an advertising copywriter. I left that job to copy edit for Atlanta Magazine *because Atlanta Magazine offered me more money*.

(To be fair, when I announced my exit the ad agency offered me 20 percent more than Atlanta to stick with them, but they had lowballed me too long; I distrusted.)

That was among the reasons I left the San Francisco Chronicle for here in 1991: about the same amount of money the first year, but the upside was considerable.

(Chron also offered me more money to stay: 25 bucks a week. Oh boy.)

My heart now poured out, I suppose I'm proud to say that a concern about remuneration was *not* the focus of a recent AJR article by Carl Sessions Stepp. He begins:

Two dozen journalists from a national magazine have gathered to discuss their future and how to prepare. They seem somewhat anxious and uneasy, but what most intrigues me is where they focus their main concern.

It isn't about whether journalism will survive, or even whether they will have jobs.

Their rawest worry seems to be this: With all the stresses and cutbacks, will they be able to continue doing the job right? "The hardest question," as one puts it, "is how to maintain accuracy with less time."

That is perhaps THE point -- although, of course, he goes on to talk about money money money through innovation innovation innovation -- and it certainly fits with my saints/masochists model if innovation flags and the money does not, like manna, descend.

Let us assume that saints always love the truth. And more often than not the truth hurts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those journos able to write the best suck-up celebrity profiles will never want for work.