11 Journalism Jobs You May Hold in the Future

Print media is on its way out. Long-form stories aren’t being read. We’ve all heard these laments, but don’t fret yourself too crazy.

If you look, you’ll find plenty of signs that this field won’t go away. Journalism isn’t dying; it’s evolving. To survive, we’re all going to have to get more creative and adapt as new technologies and methodologies appear. The traditional titles–reporter, copy editor, photographer, page designer–may fade away or take on new meanings yet journalism won’t altogether become extinct, even despite corruption and the frustration felt by overworked, underpaid journalists.

Journo jobs still exist…

A story in The Atlantic by James Fallows says this at the beginning of an article about the future of journalism:

Guess what? It’s bright.

And an essay from Paul Ford in New York Magazine argues that we still require stories to rise out of the constant flow of information.

We’ll still need professionals to organize the events of the world into narratives, and our story-craving brains will still need the narrative hooks, the cold opens, the dramatic climaxes, and that all-important [period] to help us make sense of the great glut of recent history that is dumped over us every morning. No matter what comes along streams, feeds, and walls, we will still have need of an ending, he says.

Some newer titles in journalism include social media strategist, multimedia reporter and blogger. Here are some more jobs that are beginning to appear now:

  1. Headline Optimizer. Headlines aren’t what they used to be, especially in the online world. Once you could be witty or silly or clever, depending on the story. And once you didn’t have to worry about keywords. Today, headlines are often the way people find and decide to click on a story. Good headlines are still an art, yet they are a completely different style. To brush up on your headline-writing, you could start by reading Poynter’s 10 questions to help you write better headlines.
  1. Social Media Reporter / Aggregator. Andy Carvin is well-known for his unique news role using Twitter to fact-check information. (See our interview with Carvin.)  Other media organizations are finding useful ways to make sense of social media noise. Storify is one tool being used by journalists.
  1. Story Scientist. This job is about investigating data to make digital content. New York Magazine talks about the role of a data scientist at Buzzfeed. Basically, he uses analytics to determine ways to make stories more shareable, when to share the stories and how.
  1. Data Detective. This one is also about data, something that is becoming increasingly important to journalism. Here is a video report produced during a Knight Journalism Fellowship that explores issues in this area.
  1. Curator in Chief. Beyond the influx of social media and data information, we’re confronted with too much of every type of information. Although it can be argued that all journalists curate information in some regard, some organizations are making curation a job. This Fast Company article talks about being a curator in chief.
  1. Explanatory Journalist. This type of person also deals with our overload of information; they help answer questions that news stories leave unanswered. For more about this idea, read a post on memeburn.com.
  1. Viral Meme Checker / Viral Video Maker. Going viral is something everyone wants, even journalists these days. New York Magazine also talks about how one journalist spends his time creating highlight snippets with the most linkability.
  1. Slideshow Specialist. Slideshows are also popular on the web. People who make awesome slideshows require someone who can write and create visuals.
  1. Networker / Engager. Many journalists already spend hours a day networking and creating engagement using social media. New York Magzine also talks about the engagement editor for ProPoblia who uses crowd-sourcing to involve more people in journalism. More organizations are seeking people with an online presence to fill their empty positions.
  1. E-Book Creator. As Robert Niles points out on The Online Journalism Review blog, ebooks are one of the few forms of online media that people are willing to pay for.
  1. Web Developer.  Many news organizations are looking to hire web developers, as pointed out by Andy Boyle on his blog.  Journalism schools probably aren’t teaching this skills, but most developers are self-taught anyway.

For journalists thinking about the future, learning digital skills and being open to new things seem to be common themes of success.

Then again, some journalists (a TV reporter and a freelance journalist) are quitting their jobs in search of something else.

What skills or jobs do you think journalists might have in the future? Have you figured out what you want in a journalism job?

Photo Credit: Chuckumentary

20 Responses to 11 Journalism Jobs You May Hold in the Future
  1. deborah
    August 7, 2011 | 2:30 pm

    It should be “its” in the first graph.

  2. Paul Bradshaw
    August 8, 2011 | 7:47 am

    I wrote about 6 similar roles 3 years ago (http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2008/12/04/model-for-the-21st-century-newsroom-pt6-new-journalists-for-new-information-flows/) – funny to see how things have changed/remained the same. The ‘explainer’-maker above seems to me the main development.

    The idea of appointing people to make things ‘go viral’ is already viewed with scepticism in some quarters: you can’t control distribution so closely and anyone expected to do so is on a hiding to nothing.

  3. noahechols
    August 8, 2011 | 9:11 am

    You are right! Thanks for correcting us.

  4. Rachel
    August 8, 2011 | 12:30 pm

    “Print journalism is on IT’S way out.”
    I guess copy editing is on its way out as well. Sigh.

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  6. [...] people make educated guesses. Writing on Kennesaw State University’s Center for Sustainable Journalism website last week, Lindsay Oberst lists 11 journalism jobs you may hold in the future. That is, [...]

  7. Job titles - Mike Whipple
    August 10, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    [...] month from the Center for Sustainable Journalism comes an article about jobs that journalists might hold in the future. I have read through the job titles that the [...]

  8. [...] points out, there are reasons to hope that new technology will continue to create new and interesting media jobs. Not the least of those is that the good folks at Google, who view preserving good journalism as [...]

  9. [...] a seguir às férias de Verão, quando leio livros como este ou leio posts deste tipo – 11 Journalism Jobs You May Hold in the Future -, que me interrogo se o que estou a ensinar aos meus alunos ainda terá algum valor daqui a dois [...]

  10. [...] têm assumido e assumirão cada vez mais nas redações. Você está preparado(a)? Uma postagem no Sustainable Journalism.org e comentários de António Granado no Ponto Media. Via Marcos [...]

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  14. Victor Costa
    August 18, 2011 | 3:30 pm


    I translated your article for portuguese and I gave your credits for it.

    Congratulations, your article is fantastic, you can see the translation in the botton link:



  15. noahechols
    August 19, 2011 | 10:39 am

    Thanks, Victor!

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