Poor Us: The Great Depression 2.0

March 30, 2009

Journalists Now Pounding Jobless Beat

Filed under: Reduced Circumstances — Tags: , , , — debacled @ 2:18 am

Starving_Artist_by_GrayDayAs a journalist who’s looking for work at a time when the newspaper business is in its death throes, I get up each day and wonder how the hell I’m going to find a job.

According to  the American Journalism Review,  about 15,000 other journalists  are asking themselves the same question.

The story offers some bad new:

“For those laid off between 1999 and 2007 who responded to the questionnaire, journalists who needed more than a year to find a job averaged 51 years old. Those who found work in less than three months averaged 46.”

And hope:

Patrick O’Driscoll and Mike Peluso took another popular escape route. They went into media relations. Both are happier men for it, and not because they’re making a pile of money. They were both better paid in their newspaper jobs….O’Driscoll says he has learned this overarching lesson: “Second and third acts can start in your mid-50s.

This story asks the question, “So what do you do now?” that should resonate with journalists or anyone who thought they’d found their life’s work, and are now finding their “Calling” has been rescinded.

Via Renegade Futurist

Is There Life After Journalism?
American Journalism Review, March/April 2009

Many of the respondents have found new jobs. It’s too early to tell about those who lost their jobs within the past year, but for those who did so between 1999 and 2007:

• Just under 36 percent said they found a new job in less than three months. Add those who say they freelance full time, and the total jumps to 53 percent.

• Less than 10 percent say it took them longer than a year.

• Only a handful – 6 percent – found other newspaper jobs. The rest are doing everything from public relations to teaching to driving a bus and clerking in a liquor store.

While they’ve found work, many of the people with new jobs are making less money. The midpoint salary range for their old jobs was $50,000 to $59,000. Those who listed salaries for their new jobs were a full salary band lower – $40,000 to $49,000.

Of the people who volunteered their old newspaper salary, only 2 percent made less than $20,000 a year. Of the people who gave me their new salaries, that number shot up to 17 percent. The age of those at the bottom of the salary scale has changed surprisingly as well. The median age of those who made less than $20,000 at their old newspaper job was 24. The median age of those now making less than $20,000 is 48.

Here’s another surprise: While the overwhelming majority – 85 percent – say they miss working at a paper, they are often happier in their new jobs. Sixty-two percent tell us they had been satisfied in their old newspaper jobs; 78 percent report being satisfied in their new jobs. (The bus driver and liquor store clerk are not finding much job satisfaction, however.)

So it’s safe to say there is life after newspapers. But it’s not always the life the journalists had expected.  (read on)

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