The end of journalism?
By Amy Dempsey
Black gowns, red carpets, pomp and circumstance.
When it’s our turn we stand, follow the convocation attendant behind the curtain and join the line of young folk ready to walk across the stage.
Erika Gilbert is last in line.
Another attendant approaches, hands Erika a card and drops a bomb.
“You’re the end of journalism,” she says.
“I’m not the end of journalism,” Erika shoots back.
“She’s not the end of journalism,” others in line confirm. There are more of us in the next row.
The attendant slips back through the curtain to retrieve the rest of Carleton’s 2010 Master of Journalism class, sorry for her mistake but clearly not getting the deeper meaning her words held for us.
The unknowing comment made for an excellent pre-grad giggle. But it also made me think about some of the reactions I’ve had to my Journalism Student status over the last two years.
There are the curious: “So is the newspaper really dead?”
The concerned: “Are there any jobs?”
The blunt: “There are no jobs.”
The blunter: “What’s your back up plan?”
And the bluntest: “Are you worried you won’t make that much money?”
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me one of the above questions I could buy my very own “dying” newspaper.
Journalism students take a lot of crap for being journalism students. We chuckle, shrug, make self-deprecating remarks and back away slowly from our tormentors.
Sure, there is a lot of uncertainty in our industry right now. But in my fellow graduates I see an army of potential.
My MJ friends have summer positions at the Globe and Mail, National Post, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Victoria Times-Colonist and the CBC. One colleague moved to small-town B.C. to start her own newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Goat. Another is in Cape Town, South Africa, freelancing for the World Cup and running her own website.
Sure, most of us have no idea what the end of the summer will bring — yet — but I remain confident. The uncertainty, for me, is part of the excitement.
So give us a break, naysayers.
Convocation lady, I know you didn’t mean any harm. But I must stress again — we’re not the end of journalism.