Hard Sell

Friday, January 15, 2010


Time was journalism school was touted as the first step to entering The Industry and making a living. But The Industry is quickly collapsing and j-school is scrambling to adjust its training accordingly. Jeff Jarvis, professor and new-media evangelist, argues that the future lies in teaching ‘entrepreneurial journalism,’ where every student is a business venture.

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Comments [4]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I'm thinking that Bob didn't laugh out loud because in the back of his mind he was thinking of the real motivation for running the next segment. O'Brien was canned because Leno (who, full disclosure, was in the class I didn't graduate college with and who was considered my only rival in jaw jut) at 10pm was killing the lead in to local news, a revenue generator for affiliates and Bob has to worry that he will have to sharpen his resume and interviewee skills.

Two comments from a C-SPAN forum on The Future of Journalism: Covering the US Economy from PBS folks (NPR and PBS are related, yes?) jumped out at me.

Alan Murray, a Wall St. Journal editor who used to appear on Washington Week said, "When I was on Washington Week we lost our underwriting from AARP because our audience demographic skewed too OLD," (his emphasis).

That seemed to spur Paul Solmon, economics reporter for PBS Newshour, to later say, "Ads, we call it underwriting, encroaches more and more on our time and I can't help but think it will eventually influence coverage." Which is a diplomatic figure of speech.

Meanwhile, he is busily packaging his segments for use in our new, multi-media classrooms for our text-weary, multi-tasking (fast disappearing, as their parents' homes get foreclosed) suburban youth as, if not a revenue generating side-line to his day job then, at least, a crafty, useful one if someone funds distribution.

The jingle needs a bigger word than "newspaper" industry.

Jan. 20 2010 05:32 PM
Ron Charles from Washington, DC

Telling journalism students that they can make $100,000, even $250,000 a year as neighborhood bloggers is like telling music students they can become rock stars -- or reminding folks in the unemployment line that they could win the lottery. I can't believe Mr. Garfield didn't burst out laughing -- or ask Mr. Jarvis how he might leave OTM behind for one of these far more lucrative blogging jobs....

Jan. 20 2010 01:48 PM
delmore from nyc

Jeff Jarvis is the most wrongheaded person in all of new media. Aspousing an academic agenda to train the journalist-as-entrepeneur is like leading the Children's Crusade—it's tantamount to murder. Yes, journalism is in a mess because it's been in the hands of dumb corporations and bad actors, but no, the solution is n...ot for the journalist to become a profit-generator; the solution is to train businesspeople about the special nature of the media and leave journalists to become better journalists, and allow them to earn the kind of salary that can support a family and not a room in a three-bedroom apartment in Red Hook with four other bloggers.

Jan. 17 2010 12:19 PM
Bettina Kozlowski from Chicago, Illinois

I applaud Jeff Jarvis' motivational efforts to make students believe they can make a decent living as professional journalists, like daily print journalist did only a few years ago. But let's be realistic. The ratio of paid to unpaid bloggers is infinitesimal. Guess who gets the job when a marketer can choose between a celebrity blogger or a professional journalist about that brand new camera. Even if landing a paid blogging gig, how does that enslavement to a marketing mission and a 200- word limit compare to the investigational, political or feature journalism we longed to do? Is this what we took abuse from unforgettable teachers for when not quoting three sources? As long a there is no pressure on "news" websites to pay professional writers a dignified sum for their research, reporting and writing, the Examiner.coms and the Huffington Posts of this world can continue to offer nothing or 10$ per article and everyone can call him or herself a journalist. A graduate j-school alumna, I sometimes wish I could at least still fill one of the 100s of unpaid internships at newspapers whose recipients seem to write and edit most of the published content these days.
I can make a few bucks editing student research papers and websites of entrepreneurs who can't spell "busy," but make six figures. and I can swallow my pride at the treatment we writers and editors receive from temp agencies who'll drop our application like a hot potato if we haven't written about hiking for the past five years or aren't also graphic designers as well as editors.
I would advise all prospective journalism students to rethink their idealistic decision and learn the cautionary lesson from your previous, excellent segment, "Pay Me." Sorry for the cynicism, which is really just a disguise for a broken journalist's heart.:)

Jan. 16 2010 05:21 PM

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