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Would journalists recommend a journalism career path in 2021?

Is journalism still a good career choice?

Working in journalism in 2020 has perhaps been harder than any other year in the profession. With the continuing move from print to digital, editorial teams getting smaller and the impact of COVID-19 on industries across the globe, finding employment, securing commissions and creating meaningful work has been a challenge.

Would those who have chosen a journalism career still recommend it?

Throughout the year, we’ve been speaking to journalists working across broadcast, national newspapers, monthly magazines and online outlets to hear about their experiences – here’s how five of them answered the question: ‘would you still recommend a journalism career?’

JJ Anisiøbi, deputy digital content director role at OK! online.

I would recommend journalism if they have a passion for it, not if they’re doing it for recognition and a secure career. In my 16 years in the industry I have gone from intern to deputy director, but my mates who work in sales and recruitment have been earning four times my salary for a while. I became a journalist because I wanted to write about my interests – fashion and music – and now I want to use my position to help more people like me get into this industry. Print journalism is on the decline and digital journalism is hard to monetise. Graduates need to think long and hard about what they really want.’

Read our interview with JJ here for lessons he’s learned from the challenges of 2020 and his favourite stories of the year.  

Chris Merriman, UK news editor at XDA Developers

‘I’d absolutely recommend it. It may not make you rich (though, it may) but it opens you up to the world in a way that few other jobs can. The experiences it offers can be incredible. Plus, it’s all a lot easier now we’re rid of the magnetic tape splices and primitive desktop publishing suites I learnt on! Just be prepared – the job has changed. It’s not just about whether you can write anymore – you’ve got to be a dab hand with a CMS, and have some knowledge of SEO. The hardest thing to accept is that your piece as written might need to be tweaked, just to please Google. Once you can do that, it’s the best career you can ask for.’

Read the full interview here for more from Chris on technology journalism, tech he misses from the past and his career highlights.

Tasnim Nazeer, journalist, author and producer

‘I definitely would recommend journalism as a prospective career path especially if you enjoy telling stories. There are various different sectors within journalism that one could get into, be it print, online or broadcast. I think that there is loads of scope for people to use their skills to further excel within the industry and if it’s something they enjoy doing, they should go for it. Journalism is essentially about storytelling and I think it’s important that we have people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life telling these stories.’

Read the interview here to learn about Tasnim’s Campaign for Better Representation and Diversity in the UK Media and her first on-air assignment for STV News.

Norman Miller, freelance journalist

‘Journalism is a wonderful profession. But I wouldn’t say it’s a good career choice for a lot of people in 2020. Salaries outside a few big media outfits have utterly failed to keep track with inflation from when I quit my last salaried job as an editorial manager back in 2000, and freelance rates have been slashed relentlessly by many outlets for years. Add publishers who ask people to write content for nothing/pittances in exchange for ‘exposure’. Which is why, alas, so many people in journalism today are from wealthy backgrounds. That is journalism’s loss.’

Read the full interview for Norman’s thoughts on whether traditional qualifications are still important in journalism and how editorial teams should welcome and retain more writers with disabilities.

Richard Frost, editor at TOPHOTELNEWS

‘I’m really passionate about working in the media, so yes I’d definitely recommend it to others!

‘I’ve been fortunate enough to try my hand at all sorts of things down the years from journalism, copywriting and proofreading to copy editing, PR and social media marketing, but the one constant throughout has been writing – that’s what I love most. Specifically, I get a real buzz out of researching subjects or interviewing people and then writing up my notes in a way that hopefully helps inform and entertain readers.’

Read the interview for Richard’s take on what will likely be the longest-lasting impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the hospitality and travel industry (and the media that covers it).

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