Jobs in journalism growing

Did you go to journalism school to become an online community manager? Probably not, but that is one of the hottest jobs on the market these days and you can’t launch a successful digital news business without it.

The era of specialization is dead, but a new class of jobs and roles at new era news businesses offer exciting opportunities for journalists and communicators who are interested in new thinking and new approaches.

In terms of jobs, journalistic occupations are outperforming the overall economy, according to Michael Mandel, former chief economist at BusinessWeek and founder of Visible Economy LLC. That certainly seems counterintuitive to anyone who has heard about, or directly experienced, layoffs at newspapers and TV stations in the past five years. A shift in journalistic employment to nontraditional companies such as Yahoo and AOL, plus an increase in self-employed journalists has created surprising growth.

Drawing from numbers based on the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of roughly 60,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, Mandel found the overall number of employed journalists increased by 19% from 2007-2010.

Over a comparable time period, Mandel notes, employment in newspaper publishing has fallen 26%; periodical employment is down 16%; and radio and television broadcasting is down 11%.

Journalists are getting jobs. Just not in the traditional industries or at the companies you would expect.

And those traditional news companies that are hiring? They aren’t looking for the same old thing any longer. A spirit of innovation is mandatory, previous experience is not. If you are willing to learn new ways of communicating to – and with – an audience, including inventing some of your own, you’re ready for a job in a new era news business.

Luddites need not apply. New skills can be learned, but those individuals who have shown a previous proclivity toward trying new types of digital communication will separate themselves from the pack.

Indeed, here’s a piece of a job posting from July 30, 2010 on the Tribune website:

The TV revolution is upon us – and the new Tribune Company is leading the resistance. We’re recruiting a solid team of anti-establishment producer/editors, “preditors”, to collaborate on a groundbreaking morning news/infotainment format unlike anything ever attempted on local TV. Don’t sell us on your solid newsroom experience. We don’t care. Or your exclusive, breaking news coverage. We’ll pass. Or your excellence at writing readable copy for plastic anchorpeople. Not interested.

Sell us on this:

-Your personal relationship with the internet, blogs, video-sharing, iPads, Droids, Blackberries, Blueteeth, Facebook & Twitter, and all things Modern Culture

-You’re in sync with the pulse of the streets, not the PC, Capital “J” journalism world

It’s a new era, whether you’re looking for work in journalism at a traditional company or ready to explore the emerging world of journalism outside newspapers and TV stations. The career path is no longer well-defined, however. In addition to new skills, you will need a new adaptability to find your way. Just know that, if you have an open mind and an innovative spirit, the possibilities are out there.

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