Felix Salmon, senior editor at Fusion, has bad news for people who want to work in journalism: “Going into journalism does not make financial sense.”
The problem is not that there is not enough work. In fact, there has never been a most exciting time for journalism and for news readers, as the content is as varied and as interesting as ever. The flip side of the coin is that, well, there is no coin: “For all the good journalism going on … If anyone is getting rich here, it’s not going to be you,” Salmon said.
That journalists do not earn fat salaries is not news in itself, but as more and more organisations aim to become platforms, according to Salmon, journalists have become as replaceable as workers in an assembly line.
This makes it difficult to develop a career in the field: “The way I’m using the word career is something where you’ve become skilled and valuable as a person over time,” he said.
Salmon offered words of advice, too. Since journalists can only survive financially by selling their labour to people with capital, they need to ask themselves how to make their labour more valuable over time.
Journalists can focus on developing a deep subject matter expertise and those old-fashioned storytelling skills through different media like audio or drawings. “If you want to be a digital journalist ignore the digital and go back to the old-fashioned stuff,” he concluded.
In this interview, Salmon discusses his idea further:
For more of Salmon’s speech, watch the recording: