Sunday, 24 April 2016

Writings of a Journalism Student

This is an old piece I wrote for a magazine as I was finishing my degree. I talk about what it's like to be a journalism student in a world that believes journalism is dying. Enjoy! (Forgive any outdated references as this was released to the magazine almost a year ago)

As I was finish grade 12, my senior English teacher asked me what I was planning on doing once I graduated. I replied rather excitedly that I would be undertaking a degree in journalism, to which he replied, “Why would you pick a dying field?”
This hit me hard. I had no idea journalism was dying. I watched the news every night, every morning I would be checking social media for any breaking news. It seemed to me that not only was journalism not dying but, journalism had never been stronger. So if this were the case then why would a senior English teacher tell a student going into journalism that journalism was dying? 
That’s because we have reached an end of an era, that era being the rule of print media. Since the beginning of media Print Media had been the clear winner of media outlets.  However, the rise of technology has cause print, the giant of media outlets, to fall.

As a modern journalism student it’s important to not just learn the old ways of journalism but to learn and try and predict the future of journalism. It’s an exciting time to be getting into media but it’s also a terrifying time. I remember walking into a lecture and being told that in modern society any average citizen can be a journalist at any time. This is the equivalent of a doctor walking into their class and being told, well done for getting here, but people are probably just going to operate on themselves now. It’s a terrifying concept, but this is only if we look at traditional forms of journalism and print media.

Thankfully we have more options and news outlets than ever before. From TV and radio through to online and even social media. Social Media has been one of the biggest players in journalism recently. Twitter has recently released a new app aimed at citizen journalists called periscope. Periscope is a live streaming app that allows the user to video and stream events to twitter as they happen live. This is exciting because no longer do we rely on a TV crew to get to the scene before we can see images of breaking news, because now eye witness are able to broadcast the events from the beginning as it happens.

However despite the growth of broadcast journalism across the globe, journalism as a subject seems to be depleting. There had been rumors of University of Queensland reducing their journalism program from a full undergraduate degree, the bachelor of journalism, to just a postgraduate degree, a place for a few elite students to take part in. This is seen across the globe, from Columbia to Berkley and Even in Melbourne.

However it’s important not to confuse the dropping numbers in traditional news rooms with the over all health of journalism in a general sense. One of the biggest players currently in the journalism field is Buzzfeed. While this name may bring to mind cat videos, and lists of why Dr. Malcolm should have been in the latest Jurassic Park Movie, Jurassic World. Yet this entertainment section of Buzzfeed is but a small portion of the over all website. If you take some time to explore it’s depths, there is a bit of everything, from news and lifestyle through to cat videos and personality quizzes. Buzzfeed is but one example of the future of journalism, that proves not only is journalism not dying, but also is obviously growing strong. We just need to be able to adapt to the future of journalism, which may include a cat video every now and again.

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