What do I want to be when I grow up?

21 07 2009

I’ve had the same answer to that question since I was 11 years old and joined my elementary school newspaper: a journalist. And I’ve been a journalist since I made that determination, whether I was working at a student newspaper, doing an internship, reporting for a metro daily or freelancing. But the job I’ve dreamed of doing most of my life is ceasing to exist as a full-time profession. I don’t mourn the death of newspapers. But I do mourn the effect that death is having on professional journalism. I am confident that a new, functioning business model for journalism will emerge. But whenever that does happen, it’s likely there still won’t be many positions for full-time journalists. Right now, there are numerous opportunities to do journalism, but few pay you for your work. When I explain this problem to people, they always tell me to start a blog. But I think they’re overlooking how much unpaid work goes into developing a good blog and how long it takes before you might even break even on your efforts.

Still, I hope to stay in journalism. My dream job is to do investigative projects (ideally, for an online magazine) and create in-depth multimedia packages to tell those stories. I plan to build an arsenal of multimedia skills and focus on interactive storytelling while attending MCDM. My busy summer schedule has gotten me off to a good start: In this class, I’m learning about the business of streaming media, shooting and editing video, and telling stories on the web. I’m learning Adobe Audition and how to create engaging audio stories while interning at KUOW Public Radio. And I’m helping manage and grow Newsgarden, a social-mapping application, while interning for tech startup Serra Media.

But realistically, I know there might not be any full-time jobs in journalism when I complete this program. (And yes, I could try to start a hyperlocal blog or freelance…but student loans don’t pay themselves.) So I’m open to other professions. I love journalism, but I think I would also enjoy using my skills to assist nonprofits or working as a community manager for an interesting niche website. That’s a big reason why I chose to attend MCDM – to gain the skills and knowledge I would need for other professions within digital media. I’m interested in all aspects of the digital media revolution and perhaps I’ll discover another field I’m equally as passionate about.




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