I spend a lot of time checking job sites such as Editor & Publisher online, mediabistro.com and journalismjobs.com, not because I'm looking for work, but because I'm looking for hard evidence as to why my J-school should focus its curriculum more on community journalism. Every time I hear a colleague bemoan the layoffs at large media companies, I can dig up scores of job openings at smaller-market media, especially at community newspapers.
A recent post by Mark Glaser on his Mediashift blog has made note of that very trend, suggesting that even the bigger media that have made recent layoffs are hiring in their online divisions. But not all of the jobs are in "new media" -- in Glaser's post, Dan Rohn of journalismjobs.com said, "“Right now we have 628 newspaper job openings in the U.S., from Alaska to Massachusetts to Florida to Indiana ... It’s in small towns, and I think that’s because they’re owned by families or small chains that are successful and not being hit as hard."
As sometimes the only voice for community journalism on our faculties, COMJIG members should take on the task of regularly keeping their colleagues aware of where the jobs are. Our students are scared enough as it is, and the predominant media message adopted by many of our colleagues is that "old media" are dying. I plan to send my faculty a regular summary of the job market to counter the bad news from the big media, and, over time, maybe I will be able to get more of them to talk favorably about careers in community journalism.