Is now a bad time to be a student journalist?

Over on Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Seattle-based student journalist Rob La Gatta poses an interesting question to well-renowned blogger Shel Israel.

Israel has 12 years of reporting experience under his belt, and has also co-authored a book with über-blogger Robert Scoble.

La Gatta asks:

I’m a journalism student, and there seems to be a disconnect between my peers (who are optimistic about the exciting future possibilities of the field), and our professors, who have a much bleaker outlook. As a journalist yourself, do you think current journalism students picked a bad time to enter the business?

In his lengthy reply, Israel argues that the decline of traditional print media shouldn’t necessarily mean the demise of journalism in its entirety, adding:

In the U.S. from the year 2001 to 2003, I’ve read that there were 75,000 fewer reporting and editing jobs in traditional media. That looks quite bleak.
However, simultaneous to that, online journalism has flourished. There are more news gathering organizations online every day. Many are doing quite well economically. I would wager that the day will come quite soon when the New York Times makes greater revenue online than they do off. As the revenue grows, so will the number of paid journalists.

So far from dark clouds ahead for journalism students, the maturing of the online market may eventually mean more jobs for all.

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