Saturday, May 10, 2014

The long slow death of Journalism

The long slow death of the journalism profession has been analysed and prognosticated upon for at least the last twenty years.

Hard to believe, there are still tens of thousands of idealistic youth coming up around the world who dream of becoming "journalists." They see themselves as future foreign correspondents, jetting around the world from one hotspot to another on their expense account, meeting and interviewing the famous and infamous, filing stories exquisitely researched and of course always "objective" to the core, because that's how you learn to do it at J-school.


Nevermind expense accounts; today's J-school grads fight one another for unpaid internships.

Objectivity? The J-school grad learns quickly that objectivity is a really great thing so long as it doesn't rock the boat too much among the corporate overlords who own modern media. If the up-and-coming J-star gets too objective they'll soon imperil their unpaid internship.

Then they'll be scrabbling for employment on the lower rungs of the journalism hierarchy. That'll find them at the local community newspaper, where they'll be competing for min wage employment with any high school grad who can wield a camera and string two sentences together.

But it gets so much worse, dear budding journalist. Folks who think about this stuff see a computer algorithm winning a Pulitzer within five years. That's got to light up the hearts of those corporate overlords! Unpaid interns might work cheap but they can still be a pain in the ass compared to a computer-generated algorithm.

That's pretty much the final nail in the coffin of the journalism profession. Journalism schools on the other hand will probably wobble on for another generation or two, due to institutional inertia and the desperation of credential-seeking aspirants who don't realize their train has long left the station.

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