I was very interested to read that the Press Assocation is cancelling its multimedia training scheme for this year. As part of fine trend of navel-gazing, the media is full of stories of newspapers that will struggle to make it through the current downturn – and so it probably should be. After all, it’s not only local newspapers where journalists are in trouble – radio and TV journalists are in the same boat as advertising money dries up.
Of course, the first thing that needs to be done in this instance, or so the prevailing logic goes, is to cut costs. And unfortunately for promising young journalists at the start of their career, investing in new talent is not a good idea in the financial short term. So, no investment from the PA, while I too have experienced something similar, breaking into Channel Four News last year via a new talent scheme, but now told in no uncertain times I can’t take it any further with my degree of experience when hundreds of older, more experienced journalists are hungry for work as well. After being made redundant when the start-up media outlet I was at cut all non -revenue-generating staff, I’ve been extremely lucky to recently pick up work as a freelancer on some More4 News projects – but let’s say no one in that position is in for the money or job security.
The point is, while it has always been hard to break in to a job that a lot of people simply would like to do, without the blessed hand of nepotism (I could point to some sickening recent examples), it is nigh on impossible now. But while all the talk seems to be about news outlets making it through the recession, what state are they going to be in for the following ten years? It might be bad for new journalists who cannot break in due to the knock-on results of spending cuts, but in reality, it’s pretty bad news for media companies too. Not investing in talent is a dangerous recipe for the future.