[Image from Meditations.]
Aspiring journalists may be fearful about the future of journalism. With 16 Fairfax journalists being sacked just last year, many don’t know if a job in journalism is going to get them anywhere. I would argue that journalists do have a future provided they have the ability to adapt their skills to multiple platforms. It is also important for aspiring journalists to consider how the changes in the global political sphere will alter the ethics of journalism.
One aspect of journalism that is being questioned is the idea of non-partisan journalism. Professor of Political Science Justin Buchler argued that non-partisan journalism is “inoperable” in a world where Donald Trump lies more than other US politicians. The first piece of advice I would give to aspiring journalists is therefore that they scrap the idea that both sides are equal and instead focus on what the facts are. It’s about ‘objectivity’, not ‘neutrality’.
As for changes in technology, journalists must be prepared for any changes in technology, even if those changes eliminate part of their job. An example of this is the Artificial Intelligence used to write short news stories for The Washington Post. Journalists must be prepared to write longer, more in-depth pieces that AI simply can’t write. Another way to stay relevant in the age of robots writing stories is to be able to take photos, video and audio, and edit them to create a multimedia news story.
However, according to a report by Poynter, employers still want the same core skills of traditional journalism such as accuracy and reaching deadlines, the latter of which is important in a 24-hour online news cycle.
Here is a video showing the importance of engagement with technology: