Doe-eyed journalism students, proceed with caution: You’d fare better as lumber jacks, meter readers or soldiers than you would as a newspaper reporter, according to a ranking released Monday from CareerCast.com.
Those jobs fell far down the list but still outshone newspaper reporting, which landed dead last—the number 200 spot—on CareerCast.com's ranking of 200 jobs from best to worst.
For reporters looking to reroute their career paths toward a more lucrative and fulfilling field, better options include actuary, biomedical engineer or software engineer, which landed the top three spots on CareerCast.com's list. Good news for actuarial science and journalism double-majors, but little comfort for reporters without math and science expertise.
What exactly makes newspaper reporting such a dismal gig? Other than low pay and high stress, it’s a job with so little security that some say it may not exist in the next decade.
The survey quoted social media marketer Paul Gillin, founder of NewspaperDeathWatch.com: “[T]he print model is not sustainable. It will probably be gone within the next 10 years.” A grim forecast for journalists who hope to be employed beyond 2023.
Despite the lousy ranking, Slatestaff writer Will Oremus offered his defense of newspaper reporting:
“… for a certain sort of person—a cynical yet stubbornly idealistic person who holds facts dear and simply can’t abide bullshit—all the trade-offs can be worth it, at least until the bills pile up so high that it’s no longer tenable.”
But chin up, reporters, maybe it’s not so bad. Journalism blogger Jim Romenesko took a more cynical stance on the CareerCast.com survey when he suggested perhaps assigning newspaper reporter the number 200 spot was a clever ploy to drive Internet traffic:
“I called CareerCast.com publisher Tony Lee and told him I thought it was brilliant that he put newspaper reporter dead-last in his Best/Worst job list for 2013. The 200 out of 200 ranking guarantees that nearly every journalist will tweet, blog or Facebook the survey and send huge traffic to CareerCast.com.”
Lee “swore to god” that wasn’t the case, Romenesko said on his blog, because newspaper reporter is one of a small number of jobs on the list with both negative growth and decreasing income.
For good measure: Reporters may want to stage a silent protest by commiserating with their colleagues away from Facebook, Twitter and WordPress for a while.