August 15, 2013

The Chicago Tribune

Betsy Mikel writes about graduating with a journalism degree and surveying the jobscape with dismay. About a quarter of people with journalism or communications degrees wish they’d gone into another field, a study from the University of Georgia’s Grady College recently found.

“There are only about 10 jobs in the whole country in your field and about 100,000,000 people are competing for them,” Mikel writes.

To make matters worse, those jobs happen to be located in the middle of small-town Alaska, far away from friends and family with pay way below the cost of living. …

My passion for journalism was still strong, but the instability of the field made me realize I needed a new plan.


Mikel works as a Web copywriter, a job she says still gives her “the satisfaction of agonizing over every single word and piece of punctuation to craft the perfect sentence.”

I realized I wasn’t a die-hard journalist. If I had loved the thrill of breaking a story before anyone else did, I might have stuck with journalism and fought tooth-and-nail to find and maintain a job.

But I didn’t. I lived, breathed and died part of it: the writing and storytelling. Accepting that there were aspects of the field that weren’t “me” made it easier to leave it behind.

Related: Why I left news (Allyson Bird/Sticky Valentines) | Why I love the news (John Clanton/Tulsa World) | Allyson Bird explains further ‘why I left the news’ | Why it’s still a good time to be a young journalist

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
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