Journalism is at the beginning of a tectonic shift and massive upheaval, and yet, I consider this to be an incredibly exciting time to be in journalism.
We stand on the doorstep of history. We’re watching the reinvention of a critical industry. This is not an evolution — we are a part of a revolution.
And that’s why I’m afraid. I know that journalism will be stronger than ever in 20 years, but what will tomorrow hold? The journey through revolution will claim many careers.
Will my friends have a job? Will I have a job? Will I recognize the new journalism industry that emerges?
On one hand it’s exciting to be a part of something bigger than all of us, and yet, I wonder if I’ll be able to pay my bills. No job lasts forever.
I mean no hyperbole when I call 2009 the year of the newspaper massacre. 2008’s losses will seem quaint by midway through next year. Everything we’ve ever known about newspapers will begin to fade.
If newspapers hope to survive these lean times, they must shed all remaining luddites and curmudgeons. Every employee will have to be a technologist. Newspapers can no longer afford to employ people who stand in the way of the future — in the way of progress.
If newspapers are to survive, their future will be radically different. That’s going to require radically different staffing. It’s going to require radically different thinking.
It’s a terribly depressing time to seek employment in this embattled industry. But it’s an incredibly exciting time to be developing new forms of journalism. If my thoughts sometimes seem contradictory, it’s because I’m conflicted.
No one ever said revolution would be easy. But it’s our duty. Our mission. Our calling.
If you consider journalism a calling, it’s time to take up arms and begin an assault on the old ways of thinking. Doing things the old way has suddenly become the wrong way.
We’re free falling off a precipice. The only way to land on our feet is to do some serious thinking and reinventing during our fall.