A recent survey by the American Editorial Association (AIA) determined that at least 65.2% of the editorial workforce is expected to leave within the next year to start a new job. The percentage of people with college degrees who are expecting to move to full-time work within five years of leaving editorial will drop in the next few years – though, again, there are caveats about this projection. The AIA also indicates that the number of editors in an industry may be rising, but not necessarily because of an acceleration of young people moving into jobs.
There are reasons for optimism about the future of the industry, says John Geddis, a vice president at McKinsey and the author of “Leadership In The New Media Age.” The number of people at the top of the journalism profession is growing, thanks in part to “cafeteria-style” journalism schools, he says. A growing number of editors at big media companies are also “working with writers, writers working with editorial talent and the best reporters are now editors,” he says; “the media is becoming more than a profession.”
Some argue that the rising number of people at the top of the profession is largely a reflection of the economic crisis afflicting the nation, and a growing appreciation for the role of journalists in an atmosphere of crisis-resolution reporting and crisis-management work.
But as the recent economic crisis in the United States and across the globe continues to unfold, and as the need for an increasingly large pool of news writers to provide the kind of sustained news coverage that audiences want continues to grow, a number of journalists are beginning to question the industry’s capacity to handle such dramatic changes.
At the moment, the industry’s collective view remains that the crisis in the financial markets is over and its consequences are all but over: The companies, both in the United States and internationally, that are most affected by the crisis are the bigger banks and, indeed, their financial industry competitors.
But many journalists are beginning to question the degree to which the crisis seems to have altered the nature of the profession. One recent Pew survey found that the extent to which the current crisis is actually affecting most journalists is less clear-cut than many journalists believe. In the survey, nearly two-thirds of readers and more than two-thirds of respondents were likely to say that the economic conditions leading up to the financial crisis had not had a notable effect on their editorial work. Even among the respondents who said that the financial crisis has had a significant impact
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