Declining Journalism Field Attracts Passionate Students

Tyler Clemmons

Daily Mississippian Editor-in-Chief Alex McDaniel knows the value of hard work.

She arrives in the Student Media Center at 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday after a full day of classes. She often works late into the night to finish the next day’s issue of the student newspaper she helms.

McDaniel hopes the experience she’s earning now will help her get a job following her passion: journalism.

“(Working at The DM) will lead into learning how to do video, learning how to do online, learning how to design – to learn how to best tell the story that will aid us to become better journalists and to fall into the multimedia realm,” McDaniel said. “We have to; we don’t have a choice.”

But McDaniel may find the field of journalism less welcoming than she hopes. The newspaper industry is on the decline nationwide, with circulation and profits plummeting. Since 2000, newspaper ad revenues have dropped nearly 30 percent, totaling $11 billion in lost revenues, CBS reports. Newspaper giants such as The New York Times and Washington Post have laid off hundreds of workers over the same period.

And the trend seems to be getting worse. The Newspaper Association of America reports that the last quarter was the worst in history for newspaper revenues.

McDaniel and her team are realistic about their chances of scoring a job in a field that has seen better days. Still, they hold out hope that working hard now will help them – and journalism – down the line.

“When you fall in love with something, you really can’t help it,” The DM News Editor JB Clark said. “I can’t help that I fell in love with a fledgling industry right now, but maybe I can do something to help save it.”

McDaniel plans to attend graduate school and would like to work in magazines one day. She hopes to take the skills she learns at The DM into whatever job she lands.

“If anything, being editor of The DM now as opposed to thirty years ago is preparing me more than ever to work in magazines,” she said. “I’m involved with every aspect of the publishing industry that I could just get my hands in there and work with.”

McDaniel is just one student putting in the time in a field where passion is key.

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~ by tylerclemons on September 30, 2009.

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