Younger Journalists Facing Layoffs

There is a certain reality young journalists must face when landing your new job – lay offs.

In an environment where every newspaper is struggling to stay alive, the new kids on the job don’t particularly have much to which they can hold on.

The Poynter Institute published a letter in 2008 in which a young journalist had been laid off. In the letter, he said most of his job offers now came from “the dark side,” otherwise known as Public Relations.

In his answer, Joe Grimm, visiting editor with Poynter in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism, told the young journalist he was looking at his problem completely wrong.

The young man blamed his troubles on the changing industry, and Grimm agreed. He did not lose his job because his skills were subpar; he lost it because they did not fit.

The answer is then to make your skills fit.

The industry is changing and what young journalists now need to ask themselves is this: What are my advantages? How can I diversify myself enough to become marketable in any and every medium?

The biggest advantage of all is that young journalists have the time and the drive to become versed in more than just print. The industry is changing, but they need to realize they are the ones making the changes.


Andy Rooney leaving “60 Minutes”

Journalist and commentator Andy Rooney will be delivering his last segment on “60 Minutes” Sunday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Rooney, 92, was in charge of the show’s final segment,“A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” for 33 years.

Rooney has a background in public affairs reporting writing for “CBS News public-affairs broadcasts such as ‘The Twentieth Century,’ ‘News of America,’ ‘Adventure,’ ‘Calendar’ and ‘The Morning Show with Will Rogers, Jr,’” according to CBS News.

Rooney initially started his reporting while in the U.S. Army, reporting for the armed forces newspaper, “Stars and Stripes.

Rooney’s most recent book, “’Andy Rooney: 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit,’ was published by PublicAffairs in 2009,” according to CBS News.

Though Rooney will be best known for his “60 Minutes” material, his background in public affairs will forever keep him known in this field.

What sort of role did Rooney play in the history of television journalism? What does his departure mean for today’s journalism? Will we see someone fill the shoes of the notoriously funny commentator now that he has left? For someone with a history of public affairs reporting, how does Rooney stand amongst reporters today?

Happy trails, Mr. Rooney.

Media storm coverage gone to far?

Hurricane Irene sparks debate amongst journalists regarding the validity of media storm coverage.


Over the past week a debate has surfaced in the media over how well journalists handled coverage of Tropical Storm Irene. On one side some ask if journalists tend to over-hype storms of this nature, while others think that this over-hyping is simply necessary in order to deliver a product that people need/must be informed of.


So, do the media over-hype severe storms?


Many journalists such as CUYN’s Jeff Jarvis, seem to think that Hurricane Irene’s coverage wasn’t over-hyped so much as it was just plain bad— “Of course, the storm is serious but the coverage is often laughable and, some would argue, a matter of crying wolf. The inefficiency of the coverage is also boggling: crews everywhere, all shooting the same wind and water, yet saying nothing new.”



Chris Brainard, from the Columbia Journalism Review says, “A much bigger problem, in terms of geographic focus, was that the media spent too much time focused on big East Coast cities rather than the more rural areas, which ultimately fared worse.”


Of course there are other opinions on the issue— A Philadelphia Daily News editorial said, “We’d rather be over-prepared … as for the back-to-back round-the-clock coverage of Irene and the warnings about its catastrophic potential, we wonder: What else do you do about a hurricane described as the ‘size of Europe’ as it heads toward densely packed cities?”


This is an issue that has yielded fairly strong reactions from a variety of different organizations and people over the past couple of weeks, and for good reason. In a world dominated by shock value, be it in the news or in the movies, who’s to say what constitutes hyperbole and what should be considered necessary.


Newspapers: There is Hope!

As the economy struggles to recover, newspapers are dropping like flies. The overall lack of funds in the United States has trickled down to newspapers and, much to our dismay, many have fallen. The funds to support investigative journalism have drastically fallen and many journalists have found themselves suddenly unemployed, but in the ashes of the fading medium, there is hope. A recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that people still use newspapers as a primary source for information.

The study shows that the top sources for local topics are newspapers, television, internet, and radio. Newspapers serve as the top source for news on community events, crime, taxes, local government, arts and culture, social services, zoning and development. They also tied with internet for top source for news on housing, school, and jobs, and with television for local political news.

This is good for current and rising journalists because it proves that if the big city job doesn’t work out, local news is thriving and evolving. Public Affairs may be on a low, but it’s not dead and it’s making a comeback.

2010 sees slight increase improvement in Communications job market

According to a study done by the University of Georgia, 2010 saw a slight increase in the number of jobs offered to first year grads.

Up almost 3 percent since 2009, the 58.2 percent of people who did manage to find jobs don’t seem to find this upward trend to be too promising.

Lee Becker, the reports co-author agrees– “any improvement underway is slight. Students are in a very challenging market. Its hard to be optimistic.”

An interesting finding of the study and perhaps one of the only heartening things to be found was that new workers tend to be more happy with their jobs, even compared to 2009. 40 percent of recent grads were satisfied with their jobs, up from 36 percent the year before.

In contrast with that good news, salaries in the new job market are a different story entirely. The median annual salary for a recent grad was a paltry $30,000, which has remained the same for five years. That, coupled with the equally disturbing benefit packages given to recent grad makes for a daunting expose into what we as students should soon expect. Just over half of those questioned for this survey received medical insurance.

Covering the Creativity Bias

A new study shows that while people and organizations love the concept of creative thinking as a way of improvement, they very rarely implement these creative ideas in fear of difficulty and even failure.

Cornell University recently published a study called “The Bias Against Creativity:Why People Desire but Reject Creative Ideas.” The researchers concluded that new, creative ideas can, “provoke enough discomfort to prompt the adoption of more “practical” (safer, proven, tested) alternatives.”

The researchers at Cornell University implemented two different tests in order to study why creativity is praised yet rarely used. The first test used both creative and practical ideas in association with both positive and negative words and connotations. The second tested for uncertainty and asked participants to rank ideas in order of creativity.

Conclusions showed that participants strongly supported  creative ideas but favored practical solutions by a factor of two to one.

The researchers conclude that “…if people have difficulty gaining acceptance for creative ideas especially when more practical and unoriginal options are readily available, the field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identifying how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity.”

Do you think that this study could be applied for people worldwide or just here in the US? Also, how would this study apply the advertising or journalism industry?

People’s fear of failure can be a paralyzing influence on their decision making. Is it better to take the risk and win big or to play it safe, using practical ideas and solutions?

College Newspapers Posting Old and New Content Online

Recently, many college newspapers have begun publishing their most recent editions online, as well as past articles from even 30 or 40 years ago, USA Today reports. In addition, the use of search tools such as Google and Bing has made it exponentially easier to search for information pertaining to someone. Together, these two factors can lead to having negative information easily accessible and threatening to a person’s reputation. Take Mall Wallace’s story, for example. Matt Wallace is a senior at OU and was a hopeful for the Student Government’s Presidential position. However, after OU’s student-run newspaper, The Post, posted an article pertaining to his partying habits Wallace was not just worried about the election but his future employment opportunities as well. Wallace said ““If a potential employer decides to search my name in Google, their takeaway…if they didn’t read deep into the article to weed out the ridiculousness of the circumstances…takeaway would bring up a red flag.” In addition a letter to the editor was written about Wallace who referred to him being “a danger to all women of campus,” Wallace said.
What is also a negative effect of having past content posted online is that it brings what could be a forgotten past of an individual into new light. Dawn Bugni, of the Aspire! Empower! Career Strategy Group said “I went to college. I don’t want Facebook to know what I did in college.” Bugni suggest that students with negative content about them online should use a technique called ‘flooding the internet.’ This includes writing positive letters to the editor, having a YouTube channel, or posting reviews to Amazon. The goal of flooding is to not have negative content pop up when your name is searched, but rather drown in out causing potential employers, among others, to have to sift through lots of information to find it.
Campus newspapers have very different views when it comes to deciding what should be posted online. UF’s Independent Alligator seems to almost look for negative content to post. Their metro editor, Alex Orlando, said “We’re independent; we take no responsibility for our school’s reputation whatsoever. I could care less. If students are acting like jackasses, then we’re going to write about it.” However, to protect MU’s reputation as a Catholic institution, Editor-in-Chief Matthew Reddin said he would “certainly not” publish the names of underage students in connection to a misdemeanor.
What is your opinion on what college newspapers should and should not able to post on the internet? And is it fair to have old forgotten information rehashed?