Why News Reporter ranking as worst job is bad for everyone

But I do, literally. At least according to CareerCast.com’s 28th annual Jobs Rated report’s 10 worst jobs list.

For the third straight year, newspaper reporter clocked in at the bottom of the list of 200 jobs analyzed. Broadcaster and disc jockey are close behind with the third and fourth worst rankings, respectively (loggers took the second place spot).

Essentially, everyone is losing jobs to technology, especially the internet. Loggers are being replaced with machines and the demand for paper (and therefore wood) is down since everything is going digital. DJs are not needed because of on-demand music apps like Spotify, Pandora, etc.

Loggers and DJs are both being replaced by digital mediums that more or less serve the same purpose. In fact, one can argue we’re getting a better deal: Fewer trees are being cut down and we can listen to whatever we want whenever we want.

But in the case of newspaper reporters and broadcasters, the digital alternative is far more inferior and the consequences to society much more harmful.

Since 1787, print journalism has been known as the Fourth Estate. Edmund Burke is credited with coining the term. Even though the context involved the British Parliament, the term still applies today to the media in the United States. The Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches of the U.S. government has its own system of checks and balances. The media, or Fourth Estate, is the final checks and balances to ensure that the three branches of government are in fact doing its job legally and ethically.

Without news media we are left with an uninformed public. Even more dangerous is a government that is left completely unattended to do whatever it wants with little to no consequences.

Although the printing press was invented around 1440, publications reporting news to the general public did not arrive until the early 17th century. Since then, the public has relied on professionally trained journalists to seek out and report information valuable to society. Whether it’s informing the people about the atrocities of war as we saw in Vietnam or the political scandals by their very own leaders, professional journalists have lifted the veil on events that would have remained covered without them.

Journalists are being replaced by internet bloggers. Even news sites like Huffington Post either don’t pay contributors or pay a rate that is insulting to the work they do. Good journalism costs money. No self-respecting journalist will give their work out for free.

The only people left are those who are willing to work for “exposure,” i.e. novice journalists. Although many young journalists will put out great work, most still have a lot to learn. Reporting factual information objectively is an art form that takes years to craft. Blogs written by people who have no journalism background should be heavily scrutinized. Even veteran journalists slip every now and then.

When news reporting becomes the worst job to have, brilliant minds will look elsewhere for a career. Meanwhile, the job of informing the masses will be put in the hands of the general public in the form of social media, blogs and “news” websites with an agenda. This will result in a damaging amount of misinformation, manipulation and straight up lies.

Good information does not come free. More people need to understand that. If you want to stay informed, we need to start paying journalists a competitive wage. You can get your information elsewhere for free, but you get what you pay for.

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