My future in journalism isn’t REALLY in journalism…or is it?

I get the question a lot, especially with family around the holidays, that goes something like this: “So, you’re going to be a newspaperman, are you?”

The answer invariably comes up, “nah.”

“Newsman?”

“Nope.”

“You know, I see they got so-and-so moved to Channel 5 now.  Do you know him?  I think you should  meet him.”

Anyway, when I tell them that, if anything, I’ll be on a more casual web publishing circuit, they scoff and take another sip from their holiday nog and ask if I’d gotten a chance to talk with Uncle Bill yet.  More truthfully, I’ll probably just keep on working in kitchens (I love cooking, and really don’t love chasing sources around).  I explain to my relative that yes, there’s a great future in it, but no, there is no boundless fortune.

There are tons of food blogs on the Internet, such as Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, and an equal number of blogs on my other interests.  But, if I move after college to pursue some career in journalism (web-based, of course), it will most certainly be an amalgamation of my existing interests–and I’ll operate as a freelancer, most likely while working a day job.  Or at least part of one, anyway…

Journalism to me has become an act of stewardship.  If journalism, and the Internet, for that matter, are environments—rivers or ponds, if you will—then I’ve made it my goal not to pollute upstream.

It’s not my goal to publish for the sake of publishing, since that would only pollute our environment further.  Instead, it’s my goal to write nonfiction, and to do it with the absolute goal of making the final product not just seep in truth, but to be of some value to the greater audience.  This makes blogging difficult, but not impossible, since it’s nearly impossible for me to continue to update a blog regularly with relevant information without just being another voice in the chorus.

I don’t plan on going into journalism, or reporting, as a career, after graduation.  It’s just too damn much stress.  But, I do plan on writing, or maybe doing page layout or something like that.  I plan on continuing in the vein of nonfiction, that’s for sure.  It’s all something I take very personally, and it’s all a craft that I intend to continue to nurture.

There’s a lot you can do with a degree in journalism, and not even know it.  I know this, and I’m not even graduated yet.  If I go into teaching, that would be cool.  Maybe I’ll end up working on some publication somewhere.  Hey, great.  But, I’d want to make sure that it wasn’t overtaxing me.  I’m a terrible fiction writer, but I wouldn’t completely eliminate that as a possibility.

With a degree in journalism, the world is wide open, mostly because this dying field has made it seem otherwise.  A degree in this subject only shows that its holder has experience trying to keep a dying flame lit.

With a degree in journalism, one could go work in grocery.  That’s a deceptively good position, by the way—weather or not it’s the place for me is another story.  But it did take me almost ten years to figure that much out.  Regardless of what happens, I’ll still be a connoisseur of news, and I’ll be writing a whole lot.  Publishing?  Probably.  It’ll be nice to be able to devote myself to maybe a couple of long-form pieces per month.  As much as I might not like the job description, “Stringer” will probably define my future career in journalism, if it is to have anything to do with the generation of money.

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