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26 Oct 2012

Youngun's: The Future of Journalism

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I spent a good chunk of last Friday at the University of Arizona School of Journalism's fall-semester internship fair.

I originally signed up for eight 20-minute interview slots on behalf of the paper I currently edit, the Tucson Weekly. However, Lisa Button, the school's fabulous internship coordinator, emailed me a couple of weeks before the fair to let me know that all eight of those slots were full, and that the waitlist was getting rather long.

I agreed to add four more slots. With the addition of two walk-ins, I wound up doing brief interviews with 14 students over about four hours.

Some observations:

• The future of journalism is bright, at least as far as the newbies are concerned. This was an impressive, talented, motivated group.

• The future of journalism is female. Over the years, an increasing female skew has hit the UA Journalism School, as well as other j-schools around the country. Of the 14 kids I talked to, 12 are female. All four of our current interns are women, too.

• The future of journalism is multi-talented. Journalists these days can't just focus on writing or taking pictures. They have to be able to do both. And do video. And be Internet-savvy. And be proficient in other media, too.

• I have no idea where all of these kids are going to get jobs. A third of all newspaper jobs vanished between 2000 and 2010, and even more have gone away since 2010.

However, I am honored that so many young, talented students are interested in alternative newsweeklies. That's a sign that the future for this industry has some bright spots after all.

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