Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Woe, the Hapless Journalist

There was a day when they made movies about heroic newspaper journalists and got heart-throb actors like Robert Redford to star in them.  Heck, there was even a day when a certain Krypton-wary superhero chose the journalistic profession as his preferred alter-ego.  Superman could have been anything as an alter-ego – who would have stopped him? – but he chose a fedora, a notebook and Perry White for a boss.

How the mighty have fallen.  A recent Wall Street Journal and CareerCast survey just ranked the 200 best and worst jobs based on based on income, working environment, stress, physical demands and job outlook.  Guess where newspaper journalists came in?  The top 50? No. The top 100? No. The top 150? No.

The bottom 12? Yes.  They came in 188th, between sheet metal workers and seamen, and within spitting distance of the worst job of  ‘em all, roustabout.

As a former journalist myself (albeit, one who was smart enough to flee the gig after a year), I can attest to the low pay of the job, and certainly the stress.  It’s not just the deadlines; it’s also having so many people becoming uncomfortable in your presence.  Stress does rank high in CareerCast’s assessment, but the negative job outlook for journalists has played a huge part in doing in the profession.

I for one am not happy about the fall of newspapers because, let’s not kid ourselves, newspapers always have been the best news source around, even if they tend to be sensationalistic, error-prone and bias-riddled.  Where are you going to go for news without ‘em?  Blogs? They don’t report; they get their news from newspapers. TV? Perish the thought! The Internet? Vast but iffy.

The sad reality is that newspapers failed more grandly in responding to the internet than Motor City failed in responding to Toyota, and for that, they’ve earned their current tenuous position.  I hope they figure it out and come back, but I’ve been hoping that for years.  The list didn’t include on-line journalist, unfortunately.  It would have been very interesting to compare the two.

How did public relations and public affairs fare in the survey, you ask? They don’t; they’re not included.  But let’s just note for the record that the extremely closely related job of philosopher came in 16th.

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