On Monday, Feb. 9 and Tuesday, Feb. 10, #AdviceForYoungJournalists trended on Twitter nationwide after an article by former Reuters finance writer, now employed by Fusion, Felix Salmon published an article bashing college students who are planning for a career in journalism and that journalism is the wrong way to go.
Salmon is a respected voice among the journalism community, so when he decided to voice his opinion about a subject such as this, people were going to listen. And they did.
There were some who agreed with what Salmon had to say. These people consisted of mostly those who knew little about the industry and few professionals.
Bomani Jones, a writer for ESPN, had few positive things to say about majoring in journalism in today’s world. His first tweet about the subject read, “Sure, I’ll play #AdviceForYoungJournalists: major in anything BUT journalism.”
Jones would go on to admit that he never took journalism classes while in college and that those classes may have added to his arsenal of skills.
I’m not saying he’s wrong for sharing his opinion, but telling students not to major in journalism after not taking classes himself in college isn’t something I’m going to take too seriously.
On the bright side, many other professionals in the industry, from what I saw, had more enthusiastic opinions. This included Larry King, Arianna Huffington, the USA Today’s Twitter account and many others.
The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted: “Read a lot. Write more. And beware of advice from has-been journalists who rose in a different era. #AdviceForYoungJournalists.”
This is an obvious shot at what Salmon had to say and I commend him for it. I follow Kristof’s work for The Times and he is exceptional at what he does. His columns go into great detail and it is obvious he does his research on the topic he is discussing.
Compared to Jones, who went on a bit of a rant on the subject, I’m much more inclined to listen to what a columnist for The New York Times has to say. Kristof tweeted the one phrase and was done with the conversation. This leaves much more of an impact by him simply brushing off what Salmon said in his article, basically telling aspiring journalists to follow their dreams.
As a journalism major, Salmon’s cynical view on the current state of the industry personally doesn’t worry me in the least. To say something as bold as “don’t major in journalism” is egotistical and short-sighted. To be successful, one must have the drive to do whatever it takes to stand out amongst the rest. Being lazy will get you nowhere in journalism. Making connections within the community through internships while in school is also essential, which can and will pay off in the long run.