By AMANDA WOODS
I think I convinced an undecided, inquisitive freshman that journalism is a perfectly reasonable career path to pursue in the 21st century.
The problem is, I’m not sure that I’ve convinced myself.
As I sat in a van on the way back from a trip with the Newman Center on Friday, I started a conversation with a freshman sitting next to me. After I told her I’m an English major in the journalism certificate program, the inevitable question arose.
“So what are you going to do after you graduate?” she asked me.
“I’m thinking of going into journalism,” I told her.
“Oh, that’s cool,” she said. “I was thinking about journalism at one point, but my dad told me journalism is dying. Is that true?”
“No,” I said adamantly. “Journalism isn’t dying. It’s just changing.”
I went into a three-minute long tirade about how some newspapers are closing, but there is going to be a greater media presence on the Web. I explained that now, journalists need more multimedia to go along with the news. It’s becoming more and more common for video and audio clips to accompany articles.
I discussed how bloggers are becoming citizen journalists when they report breaking news from the comfort of their homes. No matter how popular blogs become, I told her, people are always going to want accurate, objective news, and they can get that from the mainstream media.
I think I gave the poor girl an earful more than she expected when she asked that question, because her only response was, “OK, that’s good then.”
But is it good? For me?
The conversation I had with that girl replayed through my mind all weekend, and I kept thinking, “I only have one more year here in Buffalo. By then, will I have enough knowledge under my belt to be a successful 21st century journalist?”
I consider myself a good writer, but I’ve learned that’s not enough to make it in the journalistic world. I’ve already begun blogging, but I still need to become more techno-savvy. I need to take better pictures. I need to lose my fear of speaking in front of a video camera.
Hopefully, I will gain that knowledge and conquer those fears as I continue my journalistic studies at UB. And it’s not enough for me to be competent. I need to stand out — because the competition will be intense.