british journalism students who don’t read newspapers … want to … work at newspapers? wait, what?

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Roy Greenslade blogged today on The Guardian’s website about how the overwhelming majority of the 250 students in the journalism class he teaches do not read newspapers but want to work for newspapers. Huh? An excerpt:

I asked for a show of hands on a simple question: what is your primary news source?

Newspapers? No more than 20 hands went up. Radio? About the same. Television? Maybe 30. Internet? A forest of hands.

Interestingly, many of the people taking the newspaper course – people hoping to get jobs on papers – admitted to not reading printed editions.

Given that part of the lecture was devoted to entrepreneurial journalism, I also asked: how many of you are hoping to get jobs in traditional “big media” outlets?

Virtually the whole room put up their hands. They may be digital natives, but their ambition is to work for others rather than themselves.

So, what gives? Why? With the number of legacy-media jobs dwindling and with more and more talented, experienced reporters looking for work, at what point should such a view be discouraged? Or, well, should it? Certainly, as David Carr wrote this week in The New York Times, there’s certainly still an allure about actually seeing your name in print, particularly on a significant story:

Yes, you can make news working in your pajamas and running stuff past your cat and no one else. But even in 2010, when a print product is viewed as a quaint artifact of a bygone age, there is something about that process, about all those many hands, about the permanence of print, that makes a story resonate in a way that can’t be measured in digital metrics. I love a hot newsbreak on the Web as much as the next guy, but on some days, for some stories, there is still no school like the old school.

“Mainstream media,” Greenslade wrote, “remains a lure.”

How come? And, perhaps a better question, for how much longer?

And: Do journalism students across the pond feel the same way?

  1. That’s pretty ironic. They want the reputation (and I assume the pay) that goes with a traditional media outlet, yet they’re contributing to its demise. My guess is the lure of mainstream media will remain until other outlets figure out their revenue problems.

    Those j-students need to take a class with Tim McGuire over Skype or something. That might change some minds.

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