I no longer work in a news room, but I still follow the news industry and remain a news junkie. Last year, the American Society of Newspaper Editors reported that jobs at newsrooms fell by 2.4 percent in 2001. A report in Business Week had similar findings and provided the graphs below. The point of the matter is that aspiring editors are gradually losing a once sizable market where they could take their talents.
Fortunately, I am learning to be a technical editor. Half of my current job is administrative while the other half involves technical writing. I feel fortunate to have found a foothold as a technical writer and editor and hope that classes at NJIT’s MSPTC program will bolster that foundation. The foundation though, despite a few months of intensive editing, remains flaky and editing. So it behooves me to keep abreast of the journalism, editing and writing industries.
On the other hand, I worry about if a solid footing will even help.
Take my my best friend, for example. Joe and I started our careers in journalism together at about the same time. He still works in the field, as an editor for NJBIZ. The only job Joe ever took after college was as an editor. He is resigned to the notion that continuing with a career as an editor in journalism is not in his future. The pay remains stagnant, the hours continue to be long, and he is disillusioned by the industry in general. He is a great editor, in fact, he was my editor at a certain point. When I imagine what good editing should be, I have a great role model. Yet Joe feels his foundation is crumbling.
I keep trying to convince to look into other opportunities – technical writing, law school. My last suggestion was the foreign services.
When Joe looks at this career prospects after journalism, he imagines it shaky, weak. However, I see the opposite. Someone who has a keen eye for detail, manages people with stark, poignant, constructive criticism and without alienating them, sees the bigger picture, and always sees a way to improve soiled work, can find a job anywhere. These are the ingredients that I think make the cement for the a solid foundation as an editor. They are the values that I aspired to when I started taking Editing classes.
So, to Joe and to anyone else who feels their future as an editor is bleak, there are plenty of opportunities out there that could use your expertise.