Journalism students often hear that their career of choice is dying, but columnist Erin Davoran argues that it is instead a changing and vital industry for everyone.

Journalism is a dying field. That is what I was told over and over again when I decided to enroll in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Journalism isn’t dying, it’s changing. That is what I would always respond, before I ever took a class or knew what I was talking about.

I still don’t always know what I’m talking about, but I still believe that response holds true. Journalism isn’t dying. It never has been. People thought it was dying when the radio was invented, and then the TV. Now it’s the Internet that has everyone waiting for the sky to fall.

Journalism is steadfast. Its format is evolutionary. There are so many new ways to report a story. New avenues, outlets, tools and technologies are being invented and discovered, and they are changing the industry.

Not everyone would argue the changes are all for the better, with all the listicles and click bait being shared across countless social media platforms. There are even whole industries of fake news being presented as the truth.

And some of the change really does look like death. The first part of journalism people say is dying is newspapers. I’m even writing this column that will run in the very last daily print edition of The Post. No, print newspapers are not what they once were materially, but the work journalists produce at newspapers and other outlets, all the while trying to survive cutbacks and consolidation, is still the main focus. It’s still why journalism matters.

And journalism DOES matter. Yes, the click bait and news that isn’t really news are bad news bears on the surface, but when you look past the hype, you will find deep, informative, artful storytelling across all platforms in the journalism industry.

Just look at this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners announced Monday. The Associated Press won in the public service category for investigating seafood supply labor abuses which led to 2,000 slaves being freed.

{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="5c872708-0244-11e6-883c-9327987a4374"}}

The Washington Post won in national reporting for creating a database of police shootings in the country which showed why shootings occurred and who the likely victims were, revealing that unarmed black men are seven times more likely than white men to be shot and killed by police.

Journalists from The Tampa Bay Times and The Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspapers teamed up and won for investigative reporting on violence and neglect in Florida mental hospitals.

The Pulitzer for explanatory reporting went to journalists at ProPublica and The Marshall Project for their work exposing law enforcement’s failures investigating rape reports and comprehending victims’ trauma.

That is the work I aspire to. That is why so many of us ignore the looming “death” and low salaries of the industry and choose to major in journalism. We don’t do it to win a Pulitzer, but to write something that merits one.

Journalists are the storytellers, the history recorders, the watchdogs of world. Their stories come in many shapes and sizes — newspapers, magazines, broadcast programs, photographs, documentaries, cartoons, podcasts, radio programs and more.

Serious news can be presented comically — just ask Peabody winner John Oliver and his team at HBO’s Last Week Tonight — and it can be gut-wrenching, like the Oscar-nominated documentary The Hunting Ground that shows the systemic failures of colleges and universities when handling reports of sexual assault on campus.

Sometimes the news affects us so much we have to tell you our opinion about it, which is part of the reason why I wrote this column all year. There are some issues - like sexual assault, which I’ve written about frequently — where objectivity is not enough for me. Opinion has a place in journalism as well.

My journalism professor and Post advisor, Tom Suddes, often says that news is something someone doesn’t want you to know. Well, here’s some news I want, I need, everyone to know: Journalism is not a dying field. Journalism is changing but is nevertheless as important, or perhaps even more so, as it has always been.

I am proud to be a journalism student. I’m proud to be a journalist for The Post. It’s a tough job to want in a competitive industry, but I wholeheartedly believe it’s worth it. I hope you do to.

Erin Davoran is a senior studying journalism. What do you think about the future of journalism? Tweet her @erindavoran or email her at

Comments powered by Disqus