Many journalists feel so passionate about their work that they couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but in today’s economy, they may need to accustom themselves to the idea of applying themselves to new work. And they may find that it’s not so bad.
In this post, NewsLab’s Deborah Potter points out some different career turns that some out-of-work TV newsies have taken – besides teaching or public relations — in an economy that continues to see depressed hiring levels.
Potter cites several examples. Some reporters and producers are working for their local cable outlet, producing news, features and other packages. Others are producing video packages and handling media for local schools, churches and other organizations. Others are freelancing, working for several outlets, including possibly their former station employer.
While some former journos say they miss the adrenaline of breaking news, they don’t miss the stress and the irregular hours. Minneapolis’ Matt Knisely says he appreciates the fact that his schedule is regular enough that his kids can come have lunch with him every day.
Still, the post’s one commentator asks a salient question: Are these jobs really a valid financial alternative? What salaries do these jobs pay? Are they enough to pay the mortgage and keep food in the fridge? And do they offer benefits? I also recently wrote about some of the psychological pitfalls of being a freelancer in a previous post. In this economy, people often don’t have a choice about the way in which they are employed, but freelancing isn’t a mindset that’s for everyone.
At some point, the local advertising market is going to come back, and stations will be in a position to hire again. When that happens, look for them to hire fresh-faced, talented and digitally-skilled reporters, producers and anchors who are hungry to break news and tell great stories that play across TV, Web and mobile platforms. Job-seekers still will have to possess basic journalistic skills, but they’ll also have to offer would-be employers the ability to thrive in a fast-moving digital environment.