Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Magic 8 Ball says 'ask again'

Some advice to those of you trying to be helpful to us unemployed journalists: Please stop.

Or better still: Please stop, listen and look.

I'm talking about the neighbor who suggests we seek out a government job. ("I know the XYZ Dept. could really use some editors.") The career counselor who offers Fortune 500 names for our resume list. ("You can help ABC Co. get its message out.") The former colleague who says he'll put in a word with a PR bigwig he knows. ("I can put you two together fast.")

Thanks but no thanks.

You asked us what we wanted to do and we told you: news. PR is not news; marketing is not news; "internal" or "external" communications is not news.

News is... Well, it used to be newspapers, but they're closing or trimming sections or cutting the number of days they publish because the revenue and expense sides of the ledger no longer line up.

Nowadays, news might come from a just-launched online-only operation backed by foundation money, or one that has a bit of time under its belt and follows the public broadcasters' pledge model. Or it oozes from the noisy and ever-expanding blogosphere.

All of which leaves me ... somewhere that I can't quite put my finger on yet.

That's why I have no neat answer to friends' and relatives' inquiries on what I plan do next: Solo blog? Seek employment at a news website? Find a niche newspaper that's hiring?

The future still is murky as various pundits ponder it.

So while they hash out the new model and I try to wrap my head around how I fit in, maybe I'll sneak off here every now and then to see whether the Magic 8 Ball has any better answers.

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