Wednesday, October 08, 2008

find something else to do

An amusing, grim guide to journalism careers on Gawker points out that if you're getting into the field, you might as well quit now. From newspapers to trades to online ventures, the prospects are hopeless. This is what Gawker has to say about working for "good" magazines:
Oh, these are the jobs everybody wants. You want to write for the New Yorker. Or Vanity Fair, or GQ, or Vogue, or Wired, or SI, or the 50 or so other big splashy magazines that, you know, everybody wants to write for.

These jobs were always driven by connections. And guess what: they're still driven by connections, but there are even less jobs to go around now! So your chances are even worse than they would have been historically. These good jobs are never advertised, so you have to be well-connected enough to hear about them from an insider. Big magazine companies are cutting budgets and instituting hiring freezes. And every veteran magazine writer has a huge ego, so forget trying to cut in line ahead of them. Plan on getting to one of these places later in your career, as the icing on the cupcake of many years of experience, and you'll save yourself a bunch of heartache. Build up to these magazines from other, nonexistent entry-level writing jobs.

And about journalism in general:

If you're just getting into journalism, the job market is already flooded with people with far more experience than you who've been laid off, and are competing for the same jobs. If you're employed, moving up is treacherous—you never know when the new job you just took could disappear for reasons unrelated to anything you did personally.


Jennifer said...

I also read this article on Gawker. What are your thoughts. Should we all pick up and leave the industry and our editorial dreams behind?

Corinna vanGerwen said...

So, perhaps I was unclear, since I've had a few emails about this one. By no means am I actually suggesting that everyone drop the profession and move on. I meant this as tongue in cheek, which is how I read the Gawker piece. I think there's a lot of realism in there about how hard the industry is, a dose of reality a lot of newbies could use. But I mean, come on, it's Gawker. And if you're familiar with my blog, you'll recognize that I'm all about encouraging people to go after their editorial dream jobs.