The only time I’ll probably ever partially agree with Lori Gilbert. Ever.

If you don’t know what subject/story I’m tackling today, then you must be very new to the site. Hi, I’m El Duke. Nice to meet you. Now everybody please turn to Page A2. Yes, for one Lori Gilbert’s not writing about old, dying people. She’s writing about an old, dying profession.

Ok, I’m kidding of course. Journalism isn’t dying. There will always be a need for someone to chronicle the events of our time. I could spend the next many paragraphs talking about how journalism is a job of passion, how you don’t become a writer for the money, that you could work tirelessly for 10 years and then all of the sudden you’re back at square one and I probably will get to that. But first I have to point out a couple of things from Gilbert’s column.

First and foremost, Bill Davis’ Mass Comm class isn’t always full because of the quality of the class. While it is a fantastic class that I really enjoyed taking and would suggest to all of my friends, the reason it’s always at it’s 50-student limit is because it’s a prerequisite or fairly easy elective for multiple degrees.

If you want to see the true interest in the profession of journalism you have to look to Mass Comm 2. A class that I tried to take multiple times but only actually took once because the class was never full enough to actually warrant having the class. Or look at the Impact/Collegian, when I was there the class never really topped 20 people. Again, that’s not an indictment of Davis’ ability. I credit the man with reenergizing my passion for journalism, but to present the Mass Comm class size as an example of the droves of kids who are essentially screwed if they’re set on being in print is misleading at best.

Also in the Delta vein, we’ve heard whispers of a rumor that the Collegian might actually be going under. Possibly to become a club instead of a class. None of us really felt like running with it since rumors aren’t really our thing, but if we’ve heard the rumor there’s a good chance others have. I hate to break it to you guys, but we don’t exactly have super secret inside sources. If we hear something, chances are everybody’s heard it. So if you’re doing to do a column about the sad state of print journalism, and you’re interviewing the advisor and writers for a paper that’s being dogged by rumors of shutting down, you should probably ask them about that. And probably mention it in your column.

Another thing, and this is just me nitpicking really, if you’re going to mention the Pacifican (UOP’s student newspaper) in the Record, it’s probably a good idea to mention that it’s Editor in Chief Devon Blount is the daughter of Shit seeer, January Rube of the Month and Record Managing Editor Don Blount. Granted Gilbert didn’t quote her or anything, but some disclosure may have been necessary.

Now that I’ve gotten those out of the way I’m going to do something I never thought I’d do. Say something nice about something Lori Gilbert wrote. In the end she gets it right. While it’s a scary time for any profession economically, in the end it boils down to passion. Nobody, I repeat, nobody gets into journalism for the money. Even before the recession, unless you’re Bill Simmons or Rick Reilly you ain’t gettin’ paid shit. If you become a writer it’s because you love writing. Hell, I can’t even explain why I love doing this shit. I just do. And while everybody wants to talk gloom and doom about ad sales and readership plummeting and all the other shit, at the end of the day even the staunchest of newspaper supporters has to agree this is an exciting as shit time to be in the journalism field.

Look, I understand where all the old, crusty newspaper people are coming from. Shit’s been the same forever and they don’t want to change now. I get it, change can be scary. Especially because those changes could possibly mean losing their jobs. But, for those willing to learn, for those really into journalism for the love of it I can’t think of a better time to be around. People debate the journalistic integrity of self-publishing, the lack of oversight, blogs whatever the fuck you want to call it but they’re most people in that discussion miss the bigger picture. We’re redefining journalism right now. It’s truly becoming a multimedia field. Instead of being handcuffed to the print medium or to TV or radio, the world is a journalist’s oyster. If you can’t get excited by that, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.

So while it’s easy to ask why somebody would possibly push someone towards a field with such an initially bleak outlook, anybody with a true passion for the field of journalism can’t help but be even a little bit exciting about the prospects for the future. Which I guess in the end means I disagree with Lori Gilbert (whew, all is right with the world). We shouldn’t be asking “How could teachers push someone towards this profession” because why wouldn’t they want to? It’s one of the best times to be journalist…as long as you don’t mind not making any money.

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~ by El Duke on March 10, 2009.

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