It’s official – news reporters are the pits


Writers who want to parlay their literary skills into a print journalism career might want to take a look at the CareerCast “worst jobs of the year” list before they commit to their new profession.

As Poynter’s Caitlin Johnson reports, “newspaper reporter” finished at the absolute bottom of a ranking of 200 jobs in the list of 2013’s worst. Working journalists have probably suspected as much for years, but now it’s out there for the rest of the world to see.

The profession has been officially labelled as the worst possible career choice for young job seekers.

There are the usual reasons for the abysmal ranking – low pay, high stress, long hours and so forth. The downsides of journalism are well documented, and were once considered part of the “glamour” of the profession.

But the normal newsroom despair has been amplified in recent years by the slow death of print news outlets. The industry is shrinking. And it is shedding jobs as fast as it can in a scramble to survive — throwing reporters off the sleigh, so to speak, to keep the wolves of insolvency at bay.

As a result, today’s news reporter faces fewer job openings, limited prospects for advancement, higher work demands and an extraordinary level of job uncertainty as publishers sell off, downsize, outsource, close down and migrate to the Internet.

In other words, print journalism would be a very poor career choice for a well-educated, articulate, hard-working writer.

But all is not lost. Writers could try churning out books instead of labouring fruitlessly in the newsroom graveyards of broken dreams. Fiction or non-fiction seems to make no never-mind.

“Author” managed to crack the CareerCast’s 200 best jobs of 2013 list, coming in at #156, just ahead of bus driver, welder, hotel manager and garbage collector. Of course, almost every other job you can think of came out ahead of anything to do with writing (auditor, financial planner, computer-related jobs, a bunch of stuff to do with health care).

But if you insist on trying to write for a living….