“I’m just worried I’ll put in all this hard work through the next three or four years, and come out with a feeling of uncertainty at the end of it.”
Above are the words of Gabe Baer, a journalism student studying at the University of Wollongong. Baer is uncertain about where his future may lie, with many reports coming to hand about the insecurity of future media jobs. Whether or not you choose to believe those reports is a different question. Although, after speaking with three other journalism students studying at UOW, it became clear that everyone is a little bit weary. Though some may argue that there will be a boost in future jobs, the issue of job security is still in the back of all students’ minds.
Despite the murky waters that surround jobs in the media, there is a shining light. With the advancement in new technologies, new opportunities will surely be opened for journalism graduates, with a transition from paper to digital media. Some may argue that this shift in the media society will in fact, limit and decrease the availability of jobs.
Another UOW student Maddie Alpen believes this is not the case, and she looks forward to future career paths in this digital area. “I feel as though it will provide more jobs, but in different areas. I feel that live broadcasting will become less relevant as more people will rely on the Internet as their main portal for daily and global news.” Maddie seeks to one day become a news reporter, and is very interested in the live broadcasting side of journalism. She understands that this facet of the media may well fade, although she is still excited to witness the emergence of new, and unthought-of jobs in this new digital age of media.
The output of media is an increasing in itself. Thanks to globalization through social media, articles and breaking news headlines, events are able to directly reach the audience in a matter of minutes after occurring. In 2011, in the wake of the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, over 2.2 million tweets had been published on twitter in just over nine hours after his death. This increase in the use of social media and the development of citizen journalism has led to transformed ways in which we receive news stories. In a study done by the ‘American Press Institute’, it was found that over 44% of Americans use social media as a news outlet and over 51% received news from an online news aggregator 1. Due to the way social media has adapted into being its own form of citizen journalism, many traditional journalists are being forced to either adapt to new digital forms, or start looking for another job.
When I asked aspiring journalist Olivia Tataro her thoughts on whether there will be an increase in the rate of jobs, she insisted, “yes and no. New digital forms will open more opportunities for people to post on various websites and social media platforms, while simultaneously making it more difficult with the aforementioned notion of citizen journalism. But in terms of traditional journalism I believe the rate in which jobs are available is decreasing rapidly.” This interesting theory is well supported by facts, with Fairfax media announcing in 2014 that between 70-80 journalists would be made redundant 2. After seeing these types of actions coming to the fore, many workers within the media would be continuing to work in an environment with an anxious guillotine over their heads.
Student Dimitri Lignos, however, gives a contrasting argument, believing “the way journalism is panning out through online content such as blogs and websites, companies will be willing to hire more people to provide content consistently. The move to digitalisation will see an increase in jobs.”
This is a relevant point he makes but nonetheless adds confusion and uncertainty to the future of media journalism. Futuristically, in the rapidly changing world in which we live, it is difficult to predict the outcome, of what will certainly be changes in media employment.
It would seem likely that traditional journalism would give way to new media transformation. However the speed at which this happens is the question? The consumer may cling on to traditional journalism with its comfortable, cosy form of communication a little longer than the pundits expect. Certainly for some years to come there will be a blending of traditional and new media, and both employees and consumers will have to ‘test the water’, in the adaption to change process. I’m sure that whatever form the media takes, it will continue to be an integral part of our society that provides both interest and comment.