Culture of low- or no-pay means tough future for journalism students

January 13, 2015

An editorial in the National Post paints a grim picture for young people interested in or studying journalism. The author, Mireille Silcoff, reflects on being asked to speak to a friend’s university journalism class. She considers recent shifts in journalism, suggesting that copyediting has become “an extreme luxury” for many publications, with fact-checkers becoming “a distant memory.” She further laments the loss of free weekly newspapers, and the shrinking budgets for cultural reporting. According to Silcoff, today’s journalism school graduates “are destined for years of unpaid internships” and “will be convinced to write for free over and over again.” Silcoff says that describing her recent experience writing a cover story for an American magazine to students would be tantamount to “lying,” not because her story was untrue, but because it represents a kind of career that may not be available to new graduates. “Plainly,” she writes, “most millennials aspiring to be journalists will have to be supported by family money or another job if they want to write.” Some journalism programs in Canada have been facing closure or restructuring due to waning interest. National Post