Is Being A Newspaper Reporter The Worst Job In America?

iStock_000014878851_SmallI don’t think being a newspaper reporter is a terrible job. In fact, I have always regarded journalists as people I admire and a career I respect. (See The Dignity of Journalism) My favorite museum is the Newseum in DC where journalism is celebrated.

But the reality is that I view a career in journalism through the eyes of someone who has been around the block a few times. I am still fascinated by the imagery of old time journalism, “Stop The Presses” where the breaking news now occupies the headline. Unfortunately, in today’s twitterized world of instant dissemination of information, the printed newspaper has largely become “Yesterday’s News Today”. And while I still enjoy reading a printed newspaper (particularly under an umbrella on the beach in the summer), I am in a shrinking group. The reality is that being a newspaper reporter today is in fact a miserable job, so says CareerCast which does an annual survey on 200 jobs.

Yes, being a newspaper reporter is the lowest ranked position–#200 on the hit parade, and a broadcaster is #198 (I guess being a logger isn’t too swell either since it snuck in at #199) . Being a disc jockey (another career I have loved) is #197. Clearly my skills in cueing up records, which was well developed as a weekend DJ at WDHA in the 80s, is no longer valued. And advertising sales checked in at lowly #193. Oye vey!

The reality is that “old media” jobs are fading fast as the world is becoming more digital every day, and veterans who chose careers in this world are hanging on as they see the world around them shrinking and their value being marginalized.

While I understand the dynamics that have made these careers less attractive, to me it’s a shame to see. But the reality is that everyone who writes a blog (oh that’s me) is a “reporter” of some kind, and everyone who has a cell phone at an event of some kind is a “cameraman”.

On the flip side, data scientist is the #1 job on Best Jobs. (Note to my son Carl: You chose your career well as an Analyst in the Strategy and Analysis group at a major Digital agency). Data/Information related jobs were among the top tier jobs. Clearly in today’s world those who can harness the power of information go to the head of the class.

But I still admire those who work in “old time journalism”. Alas you a dying breed.

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