Journalism careers advice from the 1990s

Next it will be telling us journalists work here..(Some Rights Reserved / fsse8info)

Next it will be telling us journalists work here..(Some Rights Reserved / fsse8info)

The Society of Editors has just launched a careers advice page. The press release reads:

With specific input from industry figures in broadcast, print, digital and online journalism, the new section aims to inform those who are considering a career in the media industry of exactly what editors are looking for in trainee journalists.Questions answered include whether accreditation actually matters and whether 100wpm shorthand is still essential with further advice on how best to secure an interview and the best way to impress an editor once you have walked through the door.

Sounds promising. In fact you can’t fault most of the advice – all ‘classic’ careers stuff.

What’s most surprising is how little mention there is of online journalism and the web. You know, that thing that came along in the 1990s and buggered Fleet Street.

Simon Waldman (formally of The Guardian) discusses in his book Creative Disruption, the stages that media organizations go through when dealing with change. Based on this careers page alone, I would say the Society is still stuck at the very first stage – ‘collective denial’. Roughly interpreted –  business as usual. Keep up  the shorthand.

I’m not saying this careers guide should say: ‘look, newspapers in print will be gone by 2050 , so best get another job’.

Nor that  journalism as a profession is going to be like acting. A few journalists will manage to make well paid careers out of it, but most will do journalism on a part-time or amateur basis.

I understand to some extent we are all paid to ‘talk up’ the industry,  but it’s also irresponsible to tell new recruits that all is well. This is 2013, not 1993.

I’m sure the Society of Editors are very aware that it will never be ‘business as usual’. After all, it is a society run by editors and they’ll have probably sacked as few hard working journalists in their careers. But what  students from journalism courses need to understand is how to cope with digital disruption and yet more disruption. However, you won’t find any of that here.

Unfair? Probably.

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