Apr 30, 2018

Media Adviser: being 40-something in a modern newsroom makes me feel like a dinosaur

In the middle of news media's biggest moment of crisis, the kids aren't the problem, and you could be part of the solution, Media Adviser explains.

Rebekah Holt

Freelance journalist

Media Adviser is an advice column from journalist and psychotherapist Rebekah Holt that offers insight on recurring media dramas and their related ethical dilemmas.

Q: I am a journalist in my early 40s and the pace of change in news and newsrooms is making me feel like a dinosaur. I can’t decide if the advances in tech are amazing or terrifying. Every news job advertised wants someone who can report/shoot/edit and build a bloody website. Is this normal mid life crisis material or more? HELP.

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6 thoughts on “Media Adviser: being 40-something in a modern newsroom makes me feel like a dinosaur

  1. kyle Hargraves

    ‘When an educated news consuming adult slags off all journalists to me now I simultaneously think “what a dick”‘

    If such is your attitude then it seem incongruous to be concerned about the 23 year old subby with the report/shoot/edit & HTML skills (include CSS and PHP {or of one must : asp} for good measure). Just continue to wallow in your own insularity where there isn’t the least justification to think or react.

    “remember Kim Wall who was murdered doing a seemingly innocuous story on an inventor last year. That was one moment when I allowed myself to think wistfully about a time when Wall would have had a camera person or photographer with her.”

    That Wall was knocked off by a nutter is something of a once-off. As I understand it the motive remains unclear. In any event if you are suggesting that it is inherently unsafe for females to conduct their own interviews in a non-public palace than such is a another matter entirely.

    “So it is an uncomfortable time to work in news because it is also a fascinating one.”

    This gem makes no sense at all but to be fair what you have typed may not have been what you intended. Should you be endeavouring to make a
    point then, I suggest, more than one sentence is going to be necessary.

    “The main perk of the new technology is the access — we can go almost anywhere and get the stories out almost instantaneously.”

    Yes – I think we know. If the story cannot be collated instantaneously it can always be faked or at least faked and maintained in vogue until the next installment becomes available.

    “The democracy of that access is breathtaking”

    democracy ? Really. Fascinating! I suggest that 40 years ago what you regard as breathtaking would have been perceived as a tyranny. Seek an
    opinion from the best of Fleet St prior to its gutting by Murdoch. Ditto , for that matter for Australia (post the mid 90s) in particular. I’ll leave it there (and suppress the impulse to enquire as to the point of the photograph).

  2. Ben.

    Dear 40 something journo, welcome to the world most other profession’s, white collar and blue, have been dealing with for a few decades. You almost certainly wrote fawning pieces about the benefits of the change in those industries, and saw the pain those working in them as the cost of progress.
    The kids don’t need or want you. This is the world you helped build.

  3. AR

    Ah, I lurve the cri de coeur of the left behind, by passed and irrelevant demanding that the world stop.
    And also get orff its lawn.

  4. kyle Hargraves

    Given the replies I feel compelled to add another.

    “Many newsrooms want you to be able to do many tasks now that would have been a seperate role previously”

    I am unable to identify an occupation where such has not been the case for some decades. Excel (for example) has replaced entire rooms of (yes) they were known by their occupation as ‘calculators’ in major accounting, banking and insurance offices. Spreadsheets (there are many that do the same thing) have transformed office practice. It is almost gratifying to know that newsrooms are being (forcibly?) dragged into this world-wide reformation of product and service.

    > and I have mixed feelings on if that strengthens our end product.

    huh ?? its a bit late for such reservations. Commence with the deterioration of the education system. You are likely to witness many more screw-ups than what becomes public knowledge to the general reader but compare the number of screw ups now with what occurred in an informed, literate and educated news room of forty or fifty years ago (where no such thing or barely such a thing exists today).

    Lastly – since the question seems to be invited (but I ignored it previously) : what was (or were) the other simultaneous thought(s) in addition to “what a dick”?

  5. Bob the builder

    I think this poorly constructed and woefully sub-edited piece has got the reaction it deserves.
    The media uncritically cheerled this new world, so no, we aren’t interested in your pain. You’ve served your purpose and now, like the rest of us, you’re expendable. You’re almost the last ones out – tell the doctors and lawyers to close the door when they leave.

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