There is no doubt that the days of bustling newsrooms chock full of journalists with big budgets and even bigger salaries are over. Just as computers replaced typewriters, professional journalists and newspapers are being replaced by bloggers, social media, propaganda sites and more.
In the annual report by The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, “The State of the News Media 2013,” the findings are rather daunting to anyone wanting a career in journalism or currently in the field. Findings such as, “Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since its peak in 2000, and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978” and “Nearly a third of U.S. adults, 31 percent, have stopped turning to a news outlet because it no longer provided them with the news they were accustomed to getting,” are discouraging. But the report is not all negative with references to how news media outlets are morphing their business models to meet the demands, and to also flow with changing times. Throughout Ventura County, though, evidence shows that journalism is not dead, it’s just different.
In this week’s cover story, the article highlights a local high school’s journalism program that has continued to grow year after year since it began, and currently has a waiting list of eager students. The Foothill Dragon Press at Foothill Tech in Ventura is an award-winning online news outlet and is highly optimized for all readers and viewers in this virtual world with feeds on Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, etc. These students are also a no-nonsense group when it comes to their dedication to keeping journalism alive and relevant. This correlates with the stream of interns and freelancers that have come to the VCReporter over the years; there are many young people that believe in journalism and are willing to put their money where their mouths are — people who get their degrees and commit their professional lives to a so-called dying field. Even local veteran reporters aspire to keep journalism vital, spending countless hours on research, writing and editing stories to be featured on our pages. With so much hard work, discipline and dedication to the craft, it’s preposterous to say that journalism is dying.
In the age of information (and misinformation) overload, and websites and blogs dedicated to personal and political agendas often disguised as legitimate news media outlets, the desire for truth in reporting appears to be growing. While it is impossible to be perfect, to take the human element out of news reporting for legitimate news agencies, it’s exciting to watch the industry evolve and still remain relevant. As news media outlets form their business plans with economic viability and workforce sustainability, it’s good to know that when things even out, aspiring journalists will have somewhere to go.