Journalism jobs are reserved, think twice before declining a cashier's job at Starbucks.
Journalism jobs: A journalist presents objective and factual information using subject matter experts to reflect all points on topic either through written or verbal communication.
Newsroom business manager: A financial analyst who guides editors away from damning investors, advertisers, or government officials -- and he never held a journalism job.
Reporters for the 2000s are victims of dumbed-down journalism jobs. Editors along with business managers hold blame for the lack of news direction, and for pleasing advertisers or politicians at the expense of hiring solid journalism skills. Readers no longer trust the journalism profession -- 75 percent of adult readers say journalists are not trustworthy. 'Anonymous sources,' a term losely overused to save conflict, is the top reason for lack of trust in the journalism jobs.
Aside from written or broadcast content; the future of journalism jobs depends upon overall newsroom income. The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) reports a slow rise in newspaper circulation from 2002, countering a slumping literacy rate in the United States, and steady slides in both print advertising and subscription rates.
If the business outlook isn't disappointing enough for journalism jobs, the Internet leaps ahead of newspaper readership for news and resources. As "blogs" grow popular online, the job of the journalist competes, for search engine and web attention, with personal diaries -- of those without journalism jobs. Blog writers are not held to legal or ethical guidelines of most journalists and bloggers do print names and resources.
The use of "anonymous" sources, once viewed unethical in journalism and specifically by the Associated Press, no longer looks taboo in print. Candidates for journalism jobs may now quote anonymous sources in order to cover unavailable facts. Between blogs, and independent media websites almost all of the information printed by journalists resides somewhere on the Internet first.
In the United States, 195,648,021 residents access the Internet in 2004, up 7 million from 2002; and 59 percent of users say their news information comes from non-print websites, an increase of 28 percent in 3 years. Newspaper circulation remains below 60 million (30 percent of Internet surfers,) and any rise in circulation is attributed to online subscribers. The majority of newspaper subscribers (61 percent) purchase newspapers for advertising coupons, comics, or television schedules -- not news.
Film historians recall the glamorous image of journalism jobs in "His Girl Friday," a film depicting a dozen reporters in pursuit of a murder story. Contrast the film with present day, where humbled journalists battle the trendiest blog for breaking news, and journalism hiring managers are held to "diversifying the newsroom" above seeking excellent journalism skills.
Journalists' roles have changed long after Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote to fame President Richard Nixon's Watergate cover-up in 1973. Former presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., curtailed laws to prevent media exposure to White House cover-ups after the Watergate and Iran/Contra scandals, and President George W Bush squashed all access to White House information in Fall 2001. The White House limited its press pool, and any journalist who steps out of line is banned from the White House press room.
Newsroom management remain silent to the new government regulations in fear of tax audit, and for fear of appearing "unpatriotic" to advertisers or subscribers. Journalism jobs exclude writing that makes waves in 2004, reserve controversy for the op-ed section or Matt Drudge's gossip.
There is no longer art in reporting; re-purpose press releases or White House statements without question. Those new rules secure future revenue and require no thought or skill on part of the journalist.
Newsroom managers in 2004 diverted attention away from investigative news and focused upon a diversified employee roster. In 2003, the number of male journalists on daily newspapers accounted for 63 percent, (34,550) and the number of female journalists on dailies fell from the previous year to 37 percent (20,168.) Latino, black, and gay journalists praise their own diversity awareness programs for increasing their newsroom inclusion during the past 10 years.
Internet journalism jobs in 1997 brought an alternative, bright future to college grads as 'web editors;' however, even those jobs have vanished along with starting salaries of $63,000.
While journalists' salaries hold at the poverty line, newsroom pay increases overall skipped the recent US-salary boom. Hobson's College Review (HCR) reports the average salary for journalists is $26,000, with five of the top dailies starting at $70,000 (an impossible salary to live on in New York City or Los Angeles.)
Television news pays more than print, but job security requires beauty not intellect. The median salary for television journalists -- $44,000. The median for television reporters is $22,000. Salary range for TV news depends upon the size of staff and market.
The Kagan Report shows ad spend rose to $48.7 billion in 2000, reflecting a slim 20-year growth rate of 4.2 percent, but revenues fell back $5 billion in 2003. Newspaper advertising executives hope to see a 4 percent gain in ad revenue during 2004 -- far short of year 2000 revenues.
USA literacy rates have not been validated since 1979, the barometer sticks at 97 percent, although some cities measure literacy rates each year. Washington D.C. holds the nation's lowest literacy rate of 63 percent. However, 93 percent of all households own a television set. Television advertising revenue in 2003 rose to $20.5 billion.
Lack of trusted news reporting in the 1980s, 1990s, followed by Internet resources in late 1990s and early 2000s leave newspapers struggling to secure their mission. News junkies no longer hunt down print news. Yahoo and Google remain two popular websites providing news to the desktop; whereas the Internet lends readers more objective news from all countries without subscription fees or collection of paper print.
The growing trend for US-print and broadcast channels during the past five years is "lay low" and capture infotainment segments to boost ratings. Hard news and investigative news are replaced with "information" and "entertainment" -- a format intended to appear factually significant to traditional journalism.
Real news breaks online first in the 2000s -- print journalists wait for legal action against the parties involved before reporting the story. The Wal-Mart, Enron, Tyco International, WorldCom, and Andersen Worldwide scandals hit the press only after lawsuits threatened these firms, even though the balance sheets were public long before court order. And while Wal-Mart stands to gain financial benefits from new US-government labor laws, the retail chain remains the biggest retail print advertiser, don't expect to see reporters chasing down Wal-Mart's special relationship with the government in US-newspapers.
Even The New York Times ignores stories that might reflect poorly upon one of its top advertisers -- International Business Machines (IBM.) The top corporate outsourcing company in the United States was invited to join The New York Times' board of directors; and the Times does not report on IBM outsourcing as the technology giant switched its highest percentage of employees to outside US-borders in 2004.
News editors say that "what makes the news" is a topic important to the "community" they serve. However the lines blur between news and newsmakers; lobbyists and advertising, in our new "news" age. High profile journalists -- Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw -- are actively sought by other journalists as experts on politics. Neither of these men studied politics -- they are simply anchormen.
FOX's television series "Joe Millionaire," turned on front page news across the nation even though Evan Marriott, star of the show, was not a newsmaker -- Iraq was though. Starbucks plans to repeat its successful US-expansion in Europe, driving out local establishments, but this is not news under capitalism -- Starbucks' website shows The New York Times, as their corporate friend.
Super Bowl 30-second ads run $2.25 million. While Bush-bashing ads won't air during the sports game, CBS approved ads for three erectile dysfunction drugs. Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer will sponsor ads introducing viagra-type solutions to limp penis conscious males. In the eyes of CBS, erectile dysfunction is far more relevant to its community than politics.
The New York Times attempted to create news with a front-page story (13 January 2004) on Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, Howard Dean's (D-VT) spouse. While Judith Dean admits to not being a newsmaker, she prides herself as a caregiver, supportive spouse, and medical professional to her patients in rural Vermont. The New York Times' journalist, Jodi Wilgoren, didn't contact Judith for the interview, but instead used previously published stories, and a stock photograph.
Wilgoren writes that Judith Dean prefers the sidelines to watching her husband fight his presidential campaign. This is not front-page news. However, Howard Dean has not yet advertised in the Times. President George W Bush has twice paid for full-page advertisements in The New York Times seeking public support for his invasion of Iraq. IBM executives too supported Bush's re-election campaign and advertise weekly in The New York Times.
Unless you run a free news agency (Think & Ask, allafrica.com, UNESCO, or indymedia.org,) or you have grown famous enough to avoid seeking advertising dollars (Amy Goodman of Democracy Now,) newsrooms in the United States will work on basic capitalism principles: Cut expenses, pay cheap labor, and avoid controversy.
Newsrooms reserve their right to sit-out modern history. Journalism job candidates don't need a degree or cognitive thought to follow along. Instead of flipping burgers or pouring Sumatra coffee, journalists can earn the same wage aligning employers' messages to advertising and political interests -- all in the name of ethics.
Think & Ask: Does your hometown newspaper follow journalism ethics guidelines?