I recently overheard a Journalism student bemoaning the fact that yet again he’d heard someone say that journalism isn’t dead, it’s just evolving.
It probably is an overused phrase by those in the profession or working in journalism education – but understandably so. Who wants to be working in an industry that has no future?
Initially I thought, what, you’d rather we say it’s dead? That there’s no point in your three years at university because there won’t be any jobs at the end? Well that would be encouraging wouldn’t it?
But it got me thinking.
When I started in journalism I used a typewriter (without spell check or auto-correct). There was no Internet and no such thing as Windows – except as something you looked out of to check the weather.
In radio we worked on tape – no digital editors, fileshares and transfers.
And we used razor blades to edit that tape.
When I first moved to the BBC we were on a computer system – but we still edited on tape. And this was the 1990s. I’m not talking the dark ages here!
By the mid-90s there was talk of working in a paperless newsroom, Windows 95 and the Internet. The industry was evolving.
The move to Windows and digital editing came quite quickly but I didn’t have access to the Internet until I moved to Australia and I’m still to encounter that paperless newsroom.
In the last 16 years the industry has continued to evolve – with online journalism, blogs, social media and new technology; smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, wifi etc.
The point is this industry has been evolving since I started in it 24 years ago.
And I think that’s a good thing.
It’s still an exciting profession with an important role to play. It means it has a future.
Long may journalism continue to evolve.