Thursday, January 21, 2010


Working as a freelance journalist has never been as difficult as it is today. Print publications are folding day after day, as online media proliferates at an exponential pace. Put simply, the industry is going down the tubes and up on wifi.

Many of the print publications where I used to publish are long gone, going, or soon to go. More and more of my work has been for online sources, and even the exiting print ones have a serious online presence. Some of that has been my own doing, such as getting Boyle McCauley News established on Twitter and other social media venues. Social media has become the top way in which I network and find jobs. It has been a form of self-publishing, activism, therapy, and research.

These said jobs are becoming more finite in number and requiring involvement in social media and at least some basic technological skills, like knowing how to maintain a blog. You cannot be a Luddite anymore it work in media. Writers, artists, musicians, creative folks of all kind - we have to be willing to embrace social media or get left behind. There is no choice, save for changing careers.

The future of publishing is bittersweet. I have considered buying a Kindle, not because I simply want to ride the technology wave and get the latest toy (that's why I got an iPod), but because I fear we're heading to the point where electronic versions of books and magazines will become the easiest, fastest, and least expensive way of acquiring literature.

If print media should ever become totally redundant, I will mourn. Speaking fully as someone who sometimes appears to have more of a life online than off, I love books. I love magazines. I love the feeling of holding something solid in my hands, the breeze of pages flipping, the smell of freshly printed newspaper. There is something romantic about cuddling up in bed with a good book. I am not sure an electronic reading device would hold the same allure.

That said, progress will be what it is and as a writer, I am willing to adapt.

1 comment:

Walter Schwabe said...

Paula, great post about a reality that many are coming to grips with. I'm with you, I believe there will always be an urge to pick up a book up that's made of ink on paper.

Traditional forms of media including books are taking a beating, and yet, I for one can't wait for the day I get my new book sent to me in the mail. That moment in time will be massive, even if I'm the only one who ever reads it...books have value and an audience still but the publishing world is changing that's for sure.