Journalism today and possibly tomorrow

I recently had lunch with a colleague. I use the term “colleague” loosely since this gent has accomplished far more in the journalism world than what I have (or probably ever will have). As we ate, we discussed a few things about our industry.

Some newspapers are very reluctant to web-publish their stories. Their reasoning is readers will start to ask, “Why should I spend x amount of money on the print edition when I can read the online issue for free?” While it’s important to maintain a presence on the web, perhaps a compromise is to “tease” articles every week and let the online readers know they can read the rest of the story if they buy the print issue. Or perhaps they can read the rest of the story if they become an online subscriber. (This would work great for residents in another state or country who still want to keep up with what’s going on).

Is journalism ‘dead’?

A few months ago, I lunched with a friend and professional colleague. We discussed journalism–particularly the present and future. This friend, who was once a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, told me three disturbing words:

“Journalism is dead.”

He encouraged me to apply for government public affair positions. You know, military and government publications.

So far, I’ve been doing that and have been surprised at the pay rates of many jobs. Some that are writer/editor positions pay a minimum $50,000 per year.

Zowie! I thought, hoping my parents wouldn’t be bothered by my taking my surname in vain.

Try getting that kind of pay as a real-world journalist these days, even though writing is a skilled job that few do well.

If I had to describe the future of journalism in one word, it would be Internet. Someday, virtually all newspapers will not only be online, but they’ll be online only.

Another word: blogs.

One venture I’m looking into would require me to travel a lot. I’ve told my wife that what would be cool to do is to spend time each day or so blogging about where I’ve been and what’s been going on. You know, a travel blog. Perhaps even toss into there local events of interest.

I know some are reluctant about blogs because of they’reĀ unchecked and can be inaccurate. (I’ve even had to make corrections on my From A to Zowie blog). Believe me, in the nine years I’ve been a writer, I’ve observed newspapers can be inaccurate also. One acquaintance told me he stopped giving quotes to a local paper while a sports coach because he was tired of being misquoted. A colleague told me a major New York newspaper once got a glaring detail very wrong regarding a celebrity (if I said their name, you’d know instantly who they were) supposedly entering the adult film business. I remember e-mailing an editor once regarding a historical film review printed, and asking her why they’d print a review that contained historically-inaccurate information.