The dream jobs for today's journalists are largely the same as they have always been. The rule was, and still is, the larger the circulation and the more often they publish the better.
As long as this is the case, that's where all the young talent will go. Unfortunately, right now those are the worst possible places for them to end up.
An awkward transition
In my last post, I wrote recommended some ideas for new revenue to fill the chasm between declining print and rising online ad revenue.
Now I worry that even with as much innovation as they can muster the valiant struggle to save the medium and the famous mastheads will be a fight that is inevitably lost, and the old media dinosaurs will just die by ice age instead of asteroid.
Maybe it would just be best to let them die quickly.
Death of a paper
I link to Mark Potts a lot, but he is amazingly incisive. He's written a speculative piece about what will happen in the aftermath of a major metro daily's bankruptcy.
What will happen is the other news sources will have to step up and be more entrepreneurial. The bloggers and TV news and the alt weekly will all have to do more original reporting. New startups will spring up, run by the laid off staffers to focus on local news. Most importantly, it will give everyone a sense of entrepreneurial drive that a slowly dying organizing can never have.
To fill the gap for readers and advertisers left by a newspaper dying a whole new media ecosystem of content producers and distributors will spring up.
That's where young journalists should be. We should be at startups, innovating and experimenting and taking stupid risks. Doing exactly the kinds of things a risk averse newspaper bleeding to death and busy slashing jobs won't do.
So the biggest challenge facing young journalists is our own mindset prizing the old media over new.