Monday, March 09, 2009

jobs, digital and futures

Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth said as much that when the banks emerge from the credit crunch they'll be stronger, but journalism has yet to undergo its own reforms.

There's no business model yet that shores up the loss of revenue in both sales and advertising.

Years ago when I was a struggling journalist, it was very different.

I'm putting an animated CV in Flash today and noted that in the space of my 15 out of 22 broadcast years, I'd worked or freelanced fora dozen or more outfits - some like channel 4 News for a considerable period.

I'm not sure whether to say, in spite of the hardships, and there were many as I told an audience at the NUJ last Saturday, if you preserved enough, you'd find something.

The BBC then was the main repository for new talent and there was enough diversity to ensure, if you sent enough letters out you'd find someone looking for a researcher.

But times have most definitely changed. The jobs are still there, but you need to be more equipped, and there are a lot more grads vying for the 2000 or so turn over jobs that apparently become available each year.

So why did the student, and an extremely talented one whom I met last Saturday, seem so unsure of her chances?

She spoke Five languages: Spanish, French, Italian, English and Flemmish. She had an assured demeanor, and an engaging personality.

But she confessed to knowing little about the new unsure world of journalism, where key word search engine scripting gets you more eyeballs than mellifluous measured words.

One audience member lamented at the bizarre nature of the digi-ecology. You can't make money from blogs, twits and the rest - well broadly- but you're expected to know and practise all this.

In Miami, talking to the very talented students at the knight Foudation the same theme arose. But here they accepted what was the norm, even if it was a forced one.

The lowest denominator in media making is now so univerally acknowleged that there is no mystique over what was a revered art.

Then too we had heroes e.g. Charles Wheeler, Kate Addie, Magenta Devine, Eddie Mair, Tom Brokaw.

Today's market is so fractured that the stars still command their place amongst the legion of traditional admirers, but journalism has plunged into a world of celebrity or get-there-quick.

Deference is a word in the dictionary behind deadbeat.

What does this mean? Not much if you want to get existentialist about it. The market will sort itself out, new jobs will emerge from embers, a new crop of writers, visualist, story tellers will chart a path, unfamiliar to traditionalists.

Prime jobs for presenting to a broad audience will become even more scarce. A front cover of the BBC's mag says the future is small. Like Nick Davies said Journalism needs its own reforms