So many wide-eyed young people have mentioned to me that they also plan to go into journalism, be it golf writing or some other form of reporting, and my first reaction is to lock them in a closet for about 20 years until they come to their senses.
It’s been nearly 32 years since I left college and I can think of one other person from my class who is still working in the media. Since it was mostly a radio and television college program, maybe I don’t even count as someone who stayed on the same path as he originally chose.
I’ve seen good people lose their jobs and others who have left on their own accord after just a few years in the business. They may have been the smart ones because there have been times over the decades that I’ve thought of doing exactly the same thing.
Listening to a low-class sales person berate a writer because he or she isn’t directly producing revenue and then hearing that poor sales is the reason that editorial types are laid off makes me wonder why it isn’t the loudmouth making the exit for not making the sales he or she crowed about.
There have been mergers and takeovers, all of which changes the face of media in this country and affects those who work within it.
Long hours and few benefits, believe it or not, were part of a simpler time and, as we conclude this series on the Canadian golf media, you wonder what’s ahead for the young people just getting into the game with things getting much more complex and uncertain all the time.
There are some positives.
I started on a typewriter, but with computers now a necessity, several steps in the process of getting the news to the public have been eliminated, sadly with people losing their jobs in the process. On the other hand, the time and money once spent on the steps that have been eliminated can now be put to better use.
As a result, this is the age of instant information, which was the foundation for the launch of GNN and other media websites. In GNN’s case, there had never been a source for regular, up-to-date industry news items and discussions and, hopefully, we’re fulfilling that mandate in your mind.
However, something new can become quickly outdated in today’s media in which evolution happens quickly as opposed to over long periods of time.
While the switch to computers and e-mails and the switch from the dusty world of traditional golf industry media outlets that, at their peril, steadfastly refused to change have been big steps for me, I can only imagine the flexibility that will be required of the generation coming behind me.
Who knows what’s coming down the pike as far as technology goes? Thirty years ago, I didn’t know what a fax was and 20 years ago, I didn’t have clue about the Internet. Ten years ago, I was only using a cell phone as a phone as opposed to something to read and send data.
The next decade promises to be one of constant change in technology and to go along with that, advertisers are looking at other means of getting their company messages across. We’ve already talked about their dependence on PR companies, but let’s not forget social media and interactive consumer websites, etc.
How the news gets out 10 years down the road is anybody’s guess, but it’s safe to say that those getting into this game right now will have to be ready to adapt and chances are good that the lack of job security these days will only be magnified as we progress.
There are challenges ahead, but you can’t look too far ahead for there’s a mist that blocks the horizon. In many ways, the media’s role is not much different than that a golf professional’s in that the job definition is constantly changing.
Then, it boils down to a point that GNN blogger Tiffany Gordon often makes. The ones who survive will be the ones who enjoy getting up every morning and love going to work. Passion is usually a key to survival, no matter which line of work you choose.