Columns, Is It Just Me Or, Opinion

Is my career field crumbling before me? | Is it Just Me Or?

Condé Nast, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine — these organizations are the pinnacle of what early-career journalists aspire to, but they also happen to be only a few of the many newsrooms that are facing drastic layoffs and buyouts. 

As a senior majoring in journalism, I have had incredible opportunities and experiences at BU. However, dropping into the actual job market is its own beast to tackle. 

Lila Baltaxe | Senior Graphic Artist

Watching so many publications and media organizations deal with financial strain — causing them to butcher newsroom jobs — shatters a bit of my journalistic soul. How can I expect to work in print media when so many more experienced journalists are losing their jobs? 

Many times throughout the last four years, envisioning my professional future seemed like throwing darts at a wall. Maybe I would go on to be a serious news writer at a huge publication or an editor at one of the fashion magazines I obsessed over growing up. 

Those dreams and plans were muddled by the uncertainty of what the industry would look like when I started applying for post-grad jobs and fellowships. 

All the while, the underlying question of how I will be able to realistically support myself financially reverberates through my head like a ticking clock. Journalism is not a field that boasts about its starting salaries. 

Throughout my childhood, I watched my mom take on almost a dozen jobs to provide for herself, my brother and I. 

She often talked about how she wished she had chosen a different major than criminal justice because her recent positions did not concern much of what she learned in school. 

After watching her contemplate her choices for so many years, I was desperate to go to college to study a subject I was passionate about — and one that would allow me to pursue something relevant to that degree in my career. 

I am grateful for all the opportunities Boston University has afforded me to help me feel prepared for the chaotic nature of the news industry. 

Reading announcement after announcement of publications being forced to slash their budgets and staff positions feels like a cataclysmic trend for those entering the media industry as writers. 

As of late, I am choosing to further immerse myself in small digital sites and magazines such as Byline, a New York City-based site with weekly columns and features. Whether it’s a thriving local print newspaper or an online outlet taking pitches from young and emerging writers, creativity in journalism is not lost. 

My personal attachment to news and media aside, the rest of the professional world will feel the effects of a shaky news environment. 

Without the informative nature and watchful eye of journalists, there is so much that can happen without the public’s knowledge — from coverage in underrepresented neighborhoods to revealing devastating political corruption. 

This most recent wave of layoffs comes from nationally recognized publications, but thousands of small towns and communities have been living in “news deserts” for years. 

The high-profile nature of these publications and their drastic cuts may be what our society needs to recognize how crucial local papers are — in addition to the national sources they frequently read. 

News media does not have to be on its last breath, but with a lack of funding and trust in reporters, it seems difficult to imagine a clear path forward for the industry. 

I hope that at this moment in time, editors and senior journalists will take note of how emerging writers are marketing themselves and their work and incorporate that into how they run their publications. 

The focus should be on adapting and changing — the very nature of journalism — as opposed to watching and waiting out the aftershock of job losses and publication closures.

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