Editorial: Facing Personal Doubt for the Future of Newsrooms

by | Feb 27, 2020 | Arts & Life, Uncategorized

By Scott Zielsdorf
Issues Editor

man holding newspaper burning up in flames

Photo via Unsplash.

Statistics show that news media jobs in both Canada and the United States have severely declined in the last 20 years. Even more noticeable changes have transpired in the last decade making the idea of a career in the field of journalism a scary, if not an unrealistic prospect.

With newsrooms like the Toronto Star canceling its printed issues of StarMetro newspapers across the country near the end of last year, it’s apparent that news outlets are clearly struggling in a world of abundant online news. News that even I find myself turning to on a regular occasion.

So where does that leave an aspiring journalist student such as myself or others? If data trends in the U.S are to be believed, it doesn’t leave us very well off. A report regarding newsroom employment in the United States shows that employment in those work spaces dropped heavily over the course of one decade.

Stats show that in 2008, nearly 114,000 people worked in newsrooms across the country, a number that dropped to 86,000 by 2018. It is important to note that those numbers include all employees across print and broadcast news media. Newspapers are stated to have suffered the worst but the statistics clearly show TV and radio industries are having to cut back as well.

Naturally, the situation doesn’t fair well in Canada either. The Canadian Media Guild stated in 2014 that the Canadian journalistic sector lost 10,000 jobs over the course of just five years. Although, strangely enough, the number of journalists operating in Canada has actually risen. A study titled Crisis or Transformation? Debates Over Journalistic Work in Canada found that journalists operating in Canada rose to 11,700 in 2017 from just under 10,000 back in 1987.

I am uncertain as to whether the second fact is good or not, but it could mean that the journalist sector suffers from the same issues as many other industries in Canada today. More people are entering the industry, or rather are going to school for a degree, resulting in far more individuals available to work. Meanwhile, newsrooms are forced to cut jobs left and right resulting in a highly competitive, oversaturated job market.

With conditions like this it’s hard for me to remain optimistic of what the future outside of NAIT will look like.

Will I and any of my other classmates seeking employment in journalism be able to find a job? Or will blue-collar shirts and retail aprons be the only things waiting for us? Or perhaps the onset of rapid online news will prove to be a source of new journalistic possibilities. I suppose only time will tell.

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