July 30, 2010

Poynter’s Colleen Eddy and I will be at the Asian American Journalists Association‘s convention this week, talking with people about their careers.

We feel privileged to be included in such important conversations. We look forward to seeing old friends we have known for more than a dozen years and meeting some new people. They, their experiences and their plans will guide the conversations, but these are a few thoughts as I pack for Los Angeles.

Journalism’s changes require us to change. We simply must change the plans we had and the goals we held. Old options are pinched and new options abound.

Amid the pain and disruption journalism is going through, tremendous opportunities are emerging. Most are not in the clear-cut ways of the past, but in the wispy designs of the future. This is what growth feels like, and this is growth we have never before seen.

No future is without risk. Diving into the future holds one type of risk. Clinging to the ways we know so well holds another. If you think you are not taking a chance, it is because you don’t fully appreciate these times.

The challenging changes of our time will accelerate. We have all heard that, but few of us act on it. Continuous improvement can’t be optional. Colleges cannot teach students what they will need to know when they graduate. Professionals in their 50s cannot coast into retirement on what they know today. So we — as individuals — have to develop ongoing training plans.

Audiences are no longer captive. They must be captivated. And we must find new ways to do that because the audience now is on the stage with the journalists, producing content of its own.

Job-hunting has changed. In fact, the digital revolution has touched every career and everything we do. We have to look for jobs using the newest tools.

The challenge we will have in our career coaching sessions, and the challenge we have as journalists, is using these truths — not invented here — to steer our careers.

I look forward to spending time with people at AAJA. If you won’t be there but have a question, I’d sure like to hear form you. Please send it to me and I will try to help you, too.

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Joe Grimm is a visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. He runs the JobsPage Website. From that, he published…
Joe Grimm

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