Five years ago, the movie “Superman Returns” was released as an homage to the Christopher Reeves movies of the late 70s and early 80s. While the filmmakers adapted the franchise relatively well to the 21st Century, in one regard they were definitely behind the times.
There is no newsroom in America with this many reporters in it. Not in 2006, and certainly not today:
The Man of Steel Returns
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None are more affected by the changing face of American media than those who make a living in journalism, an industry which saw a huge boom in the 70s (thanks to glamorization from Watergate and movies like the original “Superman”) and is now experiencing a huge bust.
One veteran Utah reporter, Pat Parkinson, recently jumped shipped after 10 years in print to become public relations director for Bluffdale-based PR Marketing.com. His prognosis for journalism in America is positive, but for traditional outlets … not so much.
“I love journalism and leaving the newspaper was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I didn't think I would ever do anything else,” Parkinson said. “I was hesitant to change positions, but I'm pleased to be on the cutting-edge of where publishing seems to be heading. Face it, many newspapers are dying.”
Parkinson left The Park Record, where he’d reported on Summit County government for years, to write and edit blogs, press releases, and web copy. His clients range from large SEO companies to online startups. He still gets to be a reporter sometimes, such as landing an interview with Sen. Orrin Hatch before the Mark Zuckerberg event at BYU.
“Now I'm a ‘brand journalist,’” Parkinson said.
One of the problems with old media is a lack of interactivity that Internet consumers have come to expect.
“Ivory-towered editors are on their way out as newspapers struggle to interact with their readers. Readers will demand more of a say in the news they receive in the future and papers must evolve,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the newspaper industry doesn't seem all that willing to change. Newspapers may perish as a result. Traditional papers are too clunky, unresponsive, and outdated to survive.”
What does this mean for future journalists, those languishing through Comms 101 classes?
“The reporters of the future will have a much different skill set than reporters a decade ago,” Parkinson said. “I'm pleased to be working in an industry now that might help shape the future of journalism. It's exciting that even the finest minds in newspaper journalism haven't figured out a successful model for the future. It's a new media frontier.”