Journalism? Are you crazy?

What do you mean watchdog? I'm obviously a parrot! (Many thanks to my dog for modeling)

I recently began my job as a teaching assistant, and I’ve already had to clarify that I’m not a madwoman.

I’ll explain momentarily, but here’s some background: I’m assisting in the UBC School of Journalism’s only undergraduate course. The subject is New Media, and the class has proven to be a magnet for students who want to figure out if this field is right for them.

One such student interjected during the most recent lecture. We were looking at the Newspaper Death Watch website quite generally, but a specific poll caught the student’s eye.

“How would you answer that question?” she said to the instructor, Candis Callison.

The question: What would you tell a college student considering a journalism career?

The options:

  1. What, are you nuts?
  2. It’s a noble profession, but be prepared for a life of poverty
  3. You can make a decent living, kid, but you’d better specialize
  4. Go for it! This is a great time to get in on the ground floor.

Candis smiled and turned to me. (I am, after all, a student who decided to get into journalism despite the terror in my grandmother’s eyes.)

“What do you think, Fabiola?”

Well, I denied being “nuts” (though I did joke about embracing my status as a child of chaos) and wrote a follow-up forum post for the class. I started by saying that there is no short answer. Instead there’s a fascinating and ongoing debate. In fact, smart and experienced people hold a wide spectrum of views.

Although this is clearly dodging the question, I’m glad a student raised it so early in the semester. We’re going to revisit it often and, as we navigate the variables, I’d wager that opinions will change several times throughout the course.

In the meantime, I mentioned one point I’ve found interesting: CBC journalist Ira Basen believes that the “crisis in journalism” is not just economic but also existential. In fact, his two-part podcast on “News 2.0.” is a great entry point into the debate.

Part One

Part Two

I encouraged them (and you!) to take a break from the books and check it out. It’s a great overview of a complex landscape.

Some friends on twitter also weighed in:

It’s too early to give away my thoughts on the matter, but clearly I was not deterred – even after attending many harrowing lectures and conferences, and reading tons of doomsday material.

Jesse Brown, for instance, started a speech for a room full of student journalists called “The Future of News.” He laughed at us as we leaned forward in our chairs and then told us the real title of his presentation, captured in the following photo:

Jesse Brown dashes dreams, but makes it damn funny.

(Spoiler alert!) Fabiola Carletti went to J-school anyway and, nearing graduation, still really wants to do this thing. She also thinks a lot of the journalists she admires are, well, just a little crazy — and she’s okay with that.

Note: Fabiola also lapses into the third person, from time to time.


109 thoughts on “Journalism? Are you crazy?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Journalism? Are you crazy? « The Fab Files --

  2. So glad you took a picture of “Are You Insane?” It’s one of my defining memories of my first NASH and one of the first times I started seriously thinking about being a journalist as a career. (Odd, right?)

    I think it’ll be possible to get in and succeed if we work hard and makes opportunities for themselves. It’ll be real difficult, but we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think this was the job we really wanted to do. I’m not sure it’s not a weird kind of good that way.

    • Oh, I took many pictures. My favourite ones are of Jonathan Goldstein – he was great!
      So awkward, but it works for him.

      I was there with MacMedia magazine from York University. You?

      • OH! The power of internet stalking. I remember you, Andrew. To be fair, you do have a common first name. I even have a picture of the two of us! You have wine teeth! Wanna see?

  3. As a college student who is pursuing a career in journalism, options 2 and 4 are the ones I’ve been told the most when the same question was asked in class (a few “are you nuts?” were also screamed). But that is all I can possibly see myself doing. Besides, someone has to do it, right?

    Great post! The podcasts are great too.

    • Thanks! I hear 2 and 4 quite often myself. Funny we don’t hear more 3 … I think it’s because we’re supposed to know everything and be able to deliver it in every medium, right?

      Where’s your J-school? How far along are you?

        • My program stresses the academic side of journalism quite a bit, so that has been really helpful in staying critical of the field and asking the big picture questions.
          We also take an integrated approach to journalism, so it’s been really great to learn how to use all the new tools of the trade.
          How’s NYU? What kind of journalism appeals to you most?

        • NYU is great, the professors are very much set on making the program hands-on, so every week, I’ve had new criticism to build on, which is great.

          I’m really interested in arts and culture reporting, possibly in broadcast. I’m still weighing my options but these days all I hear around me is that I have to be completely polyvalent so the video experience I have from class so far can’t hurt.

        • Polyvalent – good word. And a new article per week, that’s very good!
          Are you from NYC? If not, how do you find reporting in the Big Apple?

        • I’m actually from Paris, France. Reporting in New York is nice because I have never so far felt like I could run out of people with interesting point of views, or newsworthy events but it is very large, so finding the subjects and setting something up can become the issue sometimes, especially on a short deadline. Still, it’s a great place to be; it’s vibrant and often, people are much more helpful than you’d imagine.

  4. I have had a similar experience with my own children, 8 and 11, who have told me they want to be journalists when they grow up.

    I have a master’s degree in journalism, and I find myself gently coaxing them to “consider all your options”…

    They’re young, of course, and the industry is in such upheaval — who knows where it’ll all shake out by the time they enter college.

    But it is a great discussion to be sure. Thanks for sharing the thoughts and for helping students and readers alike understand the nuances of our evolving journalistic landscape.

    • Hey, I know you! I’ve read your blog. You’re hilarious.
      Well, if your kids are witty and creative — and comfortable with uncertainty — they’d still benefit from J-school and media training, I think!

      My school, for instance, is making sure we don’t just fixate on the sinking ships. We also learn about the new ideas taking float (ex: create your own job like Vancouver blogger Miss 604).

  5. I really admire that you are so honest with your students and are trying to truly help them figure the love-hate profession of Journalism. Also, nice use of photos and Tweet images.

    • Thanks, Ryan! It’s important to be honest, as I do think you need a certain tolerance for unpredictability.
      Then again, where isn’t that true these days?

  6. Let’s be honest, this job is hard. I’m working in a daily newspaper now, but it took me a lot of work, and sometimes I need to remind myself why I want to do this. But I do!
    I think the only thing that can make the difference it’s our motivation and passion. Things are not going to go in the way we wish – it’s life after all – but it’s worthy!

    • I agree. Doesn’t everything worth doing involve risk, and don’t we all need ways to rejuvenate ourselves when things get hard?

  7. Love the insane sign. I worked for newspapers for years in Chicago. I was always battling with the publisher about ad revenue versus news stories that might deter advertisers. I used to tell him news is news and my job wasn’t to concern myself with advertisers. His answer, “All you editorial people are nuts.” I of course, considered that a badge of honor.

  8. Great post–look forward to the podcasts! I blog from Haiti where we often lack the bandwidth to watch video–but I have will wait through the inevitable fits and starts to watch Basen. And congrats on being freshly pressed—
    From Port-au-Prince,

    • Thank you, Kathy! I’m happy to point out that the Basen material is streaming audio. That may help a little with the bandwidth situation.
      You are in a very important location. I’ll be sure to check out your writing! Thanks for visiting.

  9. When I started Journalism School in 1999, I was told we’d all be drowning in offers + signing bonuses upon graduation. Then, dot com and 9/11 came around, and we were just drowning. But I stuck with it, and actually used option #3 as my guide – opting for advertising/copywriter. It’s worked out, but I always look back and wonder what would have been had I chosen the magazine route. Bottom line, I’m proud to have a degree in Journalism and love what I do…and blogging helps me get my “magazine” fix. Good luck with everything. A journalism degree is definitely something to be proud of, and to enjoy!

  10. I have a journalism degree from way back when in 1991. I loved tearing things off the wire and knowing what was going on in the world before everyone else. Too bad I was too insecure about my writing to go for a great internship. I realized after I graduated that internships are as easy to get as making a phone call and asking, as long as you’re still in school in many cases.

    My advice, take it or leave it, is follow your passion. If you love writing and journalism then do it. There is NOTHING worse than doing a job you hate – even if the money is good. And who knows…maybe you’re the one to take journalism to the next level. Maybe you can create a new way to do it.

  11. This is great. I have also often been asked, “are you nuts?”
    I think this has made me aspire even more for a career in journalism.
    Thanks so much for the podcast!

  12. Yeah, you’re nuts.

    I’ve been a journo since the 1970s, ex-staffer at Globe and Mail, Gazette, NY Daily News….and unable to find another NYC J-job since 2006. Yeah, I’m old.

    So I’m focusing on writing NF books and blogging and looking for corporate work as a writer whenever possible. Journalism, as we’ve known it, is toast — open to 20-somethings who work for pennies and the old farts who got good, well-paid jobs and have managed to hang on to them.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love writing and finding and telling compelling stories. But I want and need to earn a good income. I am finding those two desires far less compatible than they once were.

    • I do worry about young people’s willingness to work for nothing.
      It’s a difficult crossroads for someone who just wants to break into the profession.
      Jobs open up after senior staff are fired, but when they get re-posted for much less money, we collectively forget what they’re worth.
      I guess this is why #2 is such a common answer.

  13. I graduated in 2006 with a degree in journalism, and vividly remember sitting at graduation thinking “What the HECK did I just do?!” I worked in radio for 3 years on the editorial side, then moved to a print publication and transitioned more to the business side…and now I do Marketing and PR for a hospital! It has been a wild ride, but I love my job and it’s my journalism background that got me here.

    • Good point! That’s one thing that I often think about whenever I get anxious – the J-school is equipping me with so many transferable skills.
      The are teaching us to be as prepared as possible, but also open-minded about the various positions out there.

      The ability to write clearly, for instance, is a hard-earned advantage in so many other fields.
      I was speaking with an alumnus yesterday, and he said that he’s interested in shooting video for the United Nations. Apparently some of their materials have been put together by someone who can simply “hold a camera” and he’s excited to bring some finesse to the final product if he can.

      I’ve heard this from many graduates. We are learning a great deal about 20th century journalism in a rapidly changing 21st century context, but as the tectonic plates of the media shift, we’re also preparing ourselves to adapt. We understand that no one knows what will work, but that this is a time of experimentation.

      We have media skills, a keen interest in the world, and a sense of adventure. We want to tell stories that matter, and for some people that means getting a job with the local newspaper, for others it means working for an NGO, and for others it means freelancing from some of the most underrepresented areas of the world.

      Oh, and since you mentioned PR, the same journalist who did the news 2.0. podcasts above also did a series called “Spin Cycles.” When I heard it years ago, it was the first time I really thought about the complex relationship between strategic communications and the legacy press. I think he’s very thoughtful, and I recommend a listen.

  14. I am/was considering studying journalism as I feel I am getting a little old to continue my career as a stonemason. I must confess that my feet are getting very cold and not just because of this article. It seems that to be successful in television journalism one must first be a model. It also seems that other media are now becoming overshadowed by “the reporting of the people” i.e. blogs, social networking and the ability of all to upload photographs and comments onto the internet.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing but the traditional idea of writing for a newspaper looks like becoming a thing of the past. So I’ve decided to write a blog instead and sharpen my chisels one more time.

    • How do you expect to make money, now THAT is the question beneath the question.

      I recommend Clay Shirky’s post “Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable”

      For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases. Many of these models will rely on amateurs as researchers and writers. Many of these models will rely on sponsorship or grants or endowments instead of revenues. Many of these models will rely on excitable 14 year olds distributing the results. Many of these models will fail. No one experiment is going to replace what we are now losing with the demise of news on paper, but over time, the collection of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need.

  15. I have a B.A. in print journalism from the University of Maryland College Park, and I write for a daily/weekly newspaper as a general reporter.

    I absolutely hate it. The hours suck and the pay is horrendous, and I realize I’m one of the lucky ones to even still have a job. Thank God I joined the military for tuition assistance and went to a public in-state school to avoid debt, or I’d have had to work for DECADES at this rate to pay off loans. I’ve been trying to get out of this industry and into something with a little more earning potential for three years now, and every time I get close, someone else gets hired because they have some skill I don’t since I’ve spent the last three years writing for a newspaper.

    However, there will always be a need for news reporting. The medium will continue to evolve. Eventually, I think the only newspapers left standing will be the small, hyper-local ones like the one for which I write, because you can’t get news about this town or this county on But there’s no money in writing for a small, hyper-local paper. Trust me on that one.

    • Thanks for your personal experience. I’ve can imagine how frustrating it must be for people already in the field who haven’t been working in multiple platforms.
      It really broke my heart to see great print journalists let go when I was an intern at a big paper. It seemed so unfair that they’d have to go back out and compete…

      BUT whenever we newbies get cocky in our “newness”, I remember this podcast featuring Stephanie Nolen that stresses anchoring ourselves in old values:

      I think local news matters – it really really matters – whether it be in small town U.S.A or in the middle of the Congo. Thank you for telling your community’s story, even though it’s never been a cash cow.

  16. Journalism as we print veterans remember it is dying and whatever replaces it probably won’t be the relatively well-paid work it used to be. That said, the skills you learn as a journalist are more valuable than ever: thinking critically, writing well, researching and explaining sometimes complex topics, communicating with a large audience, being ethical about how you obtain and share information, etc. The trick for journalists is to think differently about how and where we use those skills so that we can get paid for them.

  17. I went into journalism beginning in the fall of 2009 (after being premed) and I took up photography as a hobby around the same time, now I am a Visual Specialist at my local paper! I had a job by the end of summer (I graduated in May) I’d say go into journalism but you better be a multifaceted journalistic force. Learn video and multimedia!!!


    • Visual specialist – that’s a very cool job title. It’s a long way from the short list of jobs we hear in high school career classes – a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, “a something”…

    • Very important point. Journalists should have the intellectual stamina to do their research and be able to ask the difficult questions.
      One of my journalism professors started his course with a quotation that went something like this:
      “news is what somebody somewhere doesn’t want you to know. Everything else is publicity.”

  18. Nuts we may be, but, in my case, it’s “nuts for writing.” Journalism is going through crisis on several levels, not just economic. “New journalism,” as in convergence journalism, is forcing the traditional print and ink journalists to confront the fact that this profession has entered a new era — many of these traditionalists are resisting this change with everything they’ve got.
    How the entire profession recovers from these crises depends on how people in general, journalists and technology learn to come to terms with print, broadcast and Internet news delivery.

  19. I’m excited for the shift in journalism because now it’s more accessible to regular people like myself. I only took a few journalism courses, mostly for public relations, and I am really enjoying being a mini journalist without the pressure. I can do it for me, and for no one else. I don’t need to have a fancy job with a big newspaper to write, I can do it right here on my cute little blog.

    ❤ Milieu

  20. I am in my second semester in Journalism at community college in Michigan. For the record, I am a little nuts and all over the map with my writing, but I love the chase of getting a good story.

    I write for my school’s newspaper as a work study job and I fear this might be the best paid secure journalism gig I will have in a while.

    The landscape does look a little rough and every instructor I had gives a shaky outlook about the future of print journalism and talks about the good old days on the first day of class.

    With that said, I am really excited about my journalism for the web class. And I fully embrace being a “backpack journalist” who has a notebook, digital camera, a voice recorder and flip video camcorder at the ready to deliver anything from a print, audio, photo easy/slide show and/or video piece as needed for the story I am working on.

    Brian Steinberg
    Washtenaw Voice

  21. i completely understand. i was a potential english student that stumbled ass backwards into the Ernie Pyle school of Journalism at Indiana. the outlook may be bleak but well worth it.

    great post. good luck. godspeed.

  22. Go for it! You can do other things while being a jounalist…just like you’re doing now! I commend you for the time you put into giving the world news and your own point view. Keep it up! 😀

  23. Great article. It’s an exciting time for crazy journalist. It’s like the times of the first printing press, things changing so fast. I’m fighting to let go of my pen and paper. It’s what I feel most comfortable with. To learn all this new social media is a brain freeze. I started my first blog, and at this point I can only get better. My eight year old is showing me stuff on the computor. I’m passionate about what I do, so I’m going to learn this. It’s the wave of the future. You have a well put together blog. Very nice pictures.

  24. I used to see journalism from rosy-colored eyeglasses. I mean, just who wouldn’t be bedazzled by the elegance of a TV news studio, the intricate process of news reporting, or the sheer brilliance/style of people such as Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper, or Peter Mansbridge? When we see journalism from an audience side, it is very tempting to glamorize the profession and say that for as long as we are doing the right thing – gather news, interview sources, research, report – the world is going to be just fine.

    But after a class in Investigative Journalism, I realized that journ has its other side as well. To come up with an extended story filled with details, good sound bites, balanced views, and the like entails a lot of work. And when our interviewees become very reluctant to share valuable info, you can start wondering whether your story will actually fly or come crashing down.

    It is true that motivating students to pursue journalism can be a bit sticky especially if we zero in on the pay it ultimately gives. In a world that is driven by money, those who can effectively wield, attract, and garner money are sure to survive. But if we try to see that there is something beyond what is apparent, we can rest easy that journalism still has its merits. Imagine Canada without a weather reporter… [it’s going to be] a serious nightmare.

    Although journalism got me a bit burned out, I do not regret having it as a course track. With these journ classes under my belt, I now have a better appreciation of all the stuff in Media and Communication Studies. Ultimately, we dream of a world similar to a Habermasian Public Sphere. And with the media as a key element in the “general texture of experience” it is our job as media practitioners to use this media “for good rather than ill” (Roger Silverstone).

    Thank you for your story.

    Jem Rosario
    Honours BA in New Media Studies and Philosophy
    University of Toronto Scarborough

    P.S. You’re a Comm Studies Yorkie! Amazing. 😀

  25. I was a journalist in Australia for seven years – getting my first job as a cadet before I finished my degree by moving to the country and working on a tiny paper.
    As I moved to bigger newspapers as the years went on, I watched not only myself but almost all of my colleagues have break downs because we were never recognised for our efforts, not only financially, but also through positive encouragement and feedback from our editors. They knew if they praised our work ethic, great stories, commitment etc – we would use it as evidence to say we deserved to be graded. The people at the top new full well how expendable we were. I heard on so many occasions when my colleagues would leave (mostly to PR roles, which is where I am now) that there would be hundreds of applications just for the one job.
    In the end, journalism really has lost out – with so many talented writers moving to PR – where the money and treatment is so much better.
    I think we all get to the point where we can only work our guts out to fill papers in under-staffed newsrooms and still be expected to write the very best stories for so long.
    I hope something can change in the profession to ensure the dreams of the up-and-comers aren’t shattered like mine and so many others have been.
    We all get to a stage where, as we get older, we can no longer go through life working for a pittance. I loved my early years in journalism, I still love to write (hence my blog, but the later years of my career were filled with depression and burnout. It’s very sad to see this happen to so many amazingly talented people.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!~

  26. Journalism is an artform that I am starting to appreciate more every day…It is being able to hold someone’s attention long enough to get your point across, and expressing your ideas and thoughts in a concrete way. This is a cool post…check my blog out and let me know how I can improve my writing if you have a second…

  27. Journalism is difficult. Take that from someone who’s spent 21 years in the profession, working in an area where moving from one Net-deficient place to another takes days. But the bosses in the metro (Delhi) would rather have the reports coming coming every second… “Our folks here (read metros) do it in nanoseconds!” they say. Anyway, no complaints. Love what I do. Good blog, am subscribing…

  28. When I was young I dreamt of becoming a writer for my all-time favorite magazine, National Geographic. I wanted to pursue that career, but something made me change my mind and go for a different choice. Mind you, this changing of mind was my own decision, and no one compelled me to do it. Had that something not happened, the career I would have chosen would have most definitely been becoming a writer or journalist.
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser

  29. Well, I say go for it. If all else fails it will present you with skills to succeed in other markets. I am in school for communication with a focus on marketing. Since everything is switching to web, we switch right along with it.

  30. Pingback: Where Does the iPad Fit in Citizen Journalism « Mike Lata's Apple & gaming blog

  31. Haha I myself graduated journalism. And after about six months, I’m now in the new media department of a broadcast network here in my country. Having fun though.

    And mind everyone, this crazy situation I’m in now just gets better given the not-so-lucrative compensation. :/

  32. Do you guys think it’s possible to make a living writing from your home for various sites or even one site like Wired? Do good blogs or sites pay their writers decently? Id rather work form my home using WordPress than work in some newspaper office.

  33. Brilliant post! And congrats on being freshly pressed! I think it could also be seen as a life style question. Like, are you comfortable with pay not-so-high? etc. Then, I also feel really concerned about newsworthy stories vs. revenue through adverts. Sometimes, that just kills the true art form that is Journalism. Right now, I think I’ rather look into a graduate programme in Media & Communications, while I do a lot of self education and on-the-job learning in journalism as the development of web tech is constantly putting structured learning (in schools) in doubt… Nuff said, for now.

  34. I suppose it depends what field you go into.
    Anyway i hear that there is a lot of competition over jobs in journalism so there must be some perks.
    Travelling might be one of them

    • Im in to the tech field. Currently I am writing for appmodo and ipadmodo to get my name out and skills in tech or gaming related news and reviews.but ive worked for three different sites and none of them paid me, appmodo hopefully will as they promised but I never got reply from the sites editor even after I asked for proving myself. Even in newspaper internships they never pay. How come all the editors, papers, and sites want to just take advantage of everyone for free?

  35. Hi there! I’m an undergrad determined to go into journalism and this caught my eye on the home page…..great post and I love the honesty! Now I’m going to go listen to the News 2.0…

  36. I graduated from journalism school in June of last year and was lucky enough to find a job in the industry right away. I know that many of my very talented and capable friends and classmates weren’t as fortunate, however, so the fears are definitely justified. I began studying journalism right before the apocalypse of the profession became an unavoidable topic of discussion and, by the end of my senior year, my other journalism friends and I sounded eerily like performance majors when discussing our post-grad plans.

    Sample dialogue:
    A: “So (insert business or engineering major friend) got an offer. Lucky. I wish I knew what I’d be doing after graduation.”
    B: “Same. My plan is pretty much to move to New York and pound the pavement, try to break in that way.”
    A: “Yeah, totally. I figure I can always get a job as a waitress or something and freelance until someone hires me.”

    My biggest piece of advice to aspiring journalists though is to learn by doing. I loved my journalism classes, but at my school, the curriculum had a hard time keeping up with the changes in the industry. I learned more valuable skills working on the campus online magazine and diving into new media that way than I did in my attempts to learn those skills in the classroom.

  37. My question is, “what kind of journalism?” Newspaper? Broadcast? They don’t necessarily require the same skills, as just about anyone can see by observing the difference between their local newspaper and their local TV news broadcast. But a possible missing answer is “You can develop great writing skills if you work for a newspaper, even for a short period of time, and if you keep an open eye and mind, you’ll be able to use those skills when you see other opportunities.”

  38. I am currently a journalist and I am planning on changing careers. I wish someone had dissuaded me from this field while I was in school. This point in Journalism history is very depressing for people like me — page designers. And I don’t mean copy-editors. I mean true and honest designers. People who delight in typography and developing a balanced page. Those who do not need a template but who can still create something beautiful within a template by exploiting the freedoms within the form. Sad, sad days…


  39. I got a lot of are-you-nuts responses when I told my family that I wanted to take up Journalism in college. All of them kept asking me on how I think I can earn a living from being a journalist. So in the end, I followed what they want and took up Accountancy instead. I do not know what could have happened if I did not let go of my dream, but what I know is that I am happy with where I am now. Perhaps it is not really the career for me, but that won’t stop me from encouraging younger people to pursue a career in Journalism and to stand up for what they want to do with their lives.

  40. Well…. Most of you journalist boast something. If things are going in this way, how can I meet an investigative journalist without opting for the luxury of living in the hell ?
    I bet I’ll be the only resident non- journalist there.!
    If you wanna tell me nothing, then dont drop anywhere near ‘’, b’cause there may be a lot of ghosts roaming around !

  41. I believe Journalism isn’t all that dead. In the Philippines, it’s the only thing that is not BIASED. People from various News Agencies favor stories over the others. Although, I wanted to become a wordsmith=journalist, I still wanted to serve the Scientific/Healthcare community by becoming a Nurse and a Doctor. But blogging, will still be in my heart. ❤ Thank You fab!

    Btw, Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Awesome post! Twitter: @PrinceAyeejeezy

  42. Thank you for that post!
    I’ve just applied to a few unis in Information-Communication option Jounalism/ Languages…

    Hopefully I’ll get accepted but what I’m worried about is, will I like it? And, will I as you’ve mentioned, have a life of poverty as getting hired is quite tough in this profession…

    Anyway, I keep my fingers crossed. The best is to love your job, right?!


    • Haha, I don’t remember agreeing that it’s a life of poverty… but, it’s not med school, that’s for sure.
      Good luck with your applications!

  43. I really like your blog about journalism, and how us students are fighting to find our own identity, and future, within a clouded information sharing age. The same was told to me about being crazy after I interviewed an emmy-award documentary film maker that came to our school. She told me that I will have to marry a doctor…LOL.

    As you can see, I have just begun my blog. I am still trying to figure out the formatting…I would like to know how you created tabs to add your writing samples/resume etc…??? I actually looked into applying to UBC and I graduated from University of Washington last year marjoring in Communications. Most of my experience has been TV/Film production as my passion lies in documentaries. I am trying to expand on my writing though so I am eager to start blogging more. Clever name “The Fab Files” =)

    • Thanks for the comment and for subscribing! And welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!
      Adding tabs is easy – Go to your sidebar, Pages, Add New and *voila!*
      You can also organize your general posts into categories.

      It’s also really great to read up on your specific theme. Yours is twenty ten, so look here:

      Keep in touch 🙂

  44. I’m not a journalist, but it was always the career I talked about when I was younger. It seemed like getting a job would be very challenging and that it was almost a fantasy-type career. Writing for a magazine would be a dream to me! I’m still doing something that I love – teaching, but journalism is always something in the back of my mind. To live out my passion for writing, I’ve taken to blogging recently about my daily life as a twenty-something and have made a goal to write a children’s book this year. Good luck to all of you journalists out there living the dream!

  45. Here’s a piece of advice regarding teaching–Cease and desist on the use of Dodging–your students will give you hell for it if you make a habit of it. And that will make your teaching life hell on earth fast. If you’re going to Teach–even as a TA–do it with courage,intelligence, honesty, hard work and mutual respect. Unless you’re just bidding your time like all the pedagoges in America who respeonsible for the death of critical thinking across the board. Why not start being your BEST now–in the classroom. Good luck.

    • Hey! I appreciate your point. Not to worry, I’m currently building a website for them which is as specific as it gets.
      I was stunned to have this big question so early on, though. And there really is no “right” answer.
      So much depends on the individual considering this profession (their flexibility, their talent, etc) and the landscape by the time they graduate.

      As my grandmother used to say, half-seriously: be prepared, and be lucky.

  46. “What would you tell a college student considering a journalism career?”

    The other question is, “What would you tell a college high school student considering a journalism career?”

    I plan on going into journalism when I go to college — and well, as a career. I’m only 16, so there is time to change my mind, but I know that’s what I want to do. My mom’s a doctor, and she’s always trying to dissuade me from going down that route =/

    But the truth is, I just love it. I don’t care if I live in poverty – I mean an apartment is cool, as I’ll be living by myself, and as for family? I’ll think about that later on (probably not the best way of thinking).

    I, being the geek that I am, plan to get an internship and hopefully a job at (I haven’t decided yet): **IGN**, G4, Engadget, or Gizmodo. Yeah, long list, but I feel empty or bored when I don’t blog.

    And you want to know more? I’m only in 10th grade, yet I’m taking 3 AP classes a year, and I’ll still become a journalist. But if it helps me get into college, that’s great. Most people would call it a waste of work — going the hard route, paying $50k a year for college (plan to go to USC just to get a $20k (?)/yr job.

    Meh. I would rather do something I love rather than do something that makes me want to pull my hair out (but earns more money).

    Just saw your blog on’s tags. Bookmarked.


  47. Well written, Fab! Journalism as an industry seems to have changed fundamentally with the advent of the this crazy communication medium called the internet. To me, journalism is necessarily existential. I am glad that you are bringing up thoughtful students that will want to challenge readers(I make this assumption because of the question your student posed to you)!

    • Thanks! I’m actually correcting some of their book reviews right now and, wow, I already see some real talent.
      There are a handful that I wouldn’t mind having written myself!

  48. Pingback: I don’t, and I will never, know enough | The Fab Files

  49. Pingback: It’s closing time for The Fab Files | The Fab Files

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