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Traditional Journalism: Is it Old News?

Technology for capturing and conveying information and news has included the book, the quill pen and the printing press. A century and a half before Thomson Reuters published online, Paul Julius Reuter pioneered sending info through the air between London and Paris via carrier pigeons. These days news still travels, but it’s by way of satellites and across wireless networks in invisible data packets.

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Information sharing will never be the same, and traditional journalism is feeling a squeeze. Changes in the media landscape include the shutting down and consolidation of print media outlets throughout the country. The Internet has enabled interactive news gathering and audience-generated content. Despite the broader access to publishing technology, the FCC warns that the loss of local reporting may shift power away from citizens toward government and other institutions, giving them more control over the news. Reductions in staffing have led journalists to rely more on press releases and announcements rather than independent reporting.

Is traditional journalism doomed? The drop in subscribers means lost revenue, which causes layoffs and reductions in the quality and quantity of news reporting, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report. Traditional outlets (radio, TV, papers) vie with the new media (blogs, websites, social networks). Nearly three-quarters of Americans now get breaking news from friends and family, including social media connections.

The death knell for journalism has yet to sound, however. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a decline for some news jobs like reporters and correspondents, it projects growth in areas such as broadcast news analysis and web-based publishing.

"Old school" journalism programs have adopted digital media studies and are emphasizing real-life experience through externships. Journalism schools have stayed relevant by embracing video shooting and editing, website development, crowd-sourcing, hyperlocal reporting and computerized news production.

The infographic below explores the evolving field of journalism, related academic degree programs and some potential career opportunities.

Sources:

Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2012
The Information Needs of Communities, Federal Communications Commission, June 2011
State of the News Media 2013, Pew Research Center

For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic

Traditional Journalism: Is it Old News?
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