Since the introduction of the internet and the changes it has made to journalism and media, there has been discussions surrounding the difference in traditional journalism and “citizen journalism”, with many professionals in the field criticizing any form of journalism that does not fit in with the legacy media fields of print, radio and television. For new journalism students, the criticism that their particular field of interest is not a viable career choice can be worrying.
“I definitely feel a bit safer going into sports journalism than if I was going into another area.” said Ryan Geer, 22, who is hoping to follow a career into sports broadcasting and reporting. Sports journalism falls into the category of traditional journalism, and with Australia’s intense sporting culture, there will always be a need for this branch of reporting.
An area that is constantly being challenged for not being real journalism is games reporting. Scott Charman, 20, is interested in pursuing this path, regardless of the lack of respect that the field is faced with. “There is definitely a stigma surrounding games journalism in particular. Games journalism is considered to be more of a hobby. I think that’s why it isn’t considered a career as such.” Because anyone can create a commentary on the games or entertainment industry and publish it online as journalism, it can be categorized as citizen journalism. However, this impacts on true journalists who have a career in this area. Keiden Cheung, 18, who is also interested in a similar career path, expanded on this idea. “I feel like, to some degree, there is justification for the stigma. Entertainment journalism is more accessible and the public can digest the information easier because it is more interesting. This idea of it being digested easier is what makes people perceive it as a lower form of journalism. But the core skills related to journalism, like telling a story, are still there, it is just the form that differs.”
Sometimes, the two fields can cross paths. Satirical and comedy journalism has been rising in popularity for a number of years, with television programs like The Chasers War on Everything and The Daily Show with Steven Colbert. This branch of journalism takes traditional form and content and presents it in a contemporary, humorous and accessible way. Riley Jones, 18, is interested in this field of journalism because it blends his two passions of writing and comedy into one. He is not overly concerned that it isn’t seen as a completely traditional form of journalism. “It’s the legacy media that is saying what is and isn’t real journalism, it is a bit biased. It’s easy to call yourself the “real thing”. As long people can use the journalism you’re creating, it has purpose.”
Because of the changing nature of journalism as society moves more digital, Keiden is forced to think logically about his career choice. “With journalism, it is fairly necessary to have a back-up plan. The internet has given people without degrees a chance to portray journalistic stories to the public.” This could potentially make it harder for budding student journalists to obtain employment outside of University.