The future of journalism careers for gifted kids? Here's hoping for good news

The future of journalism careers for gifted kids? Here's hoping for good news
The future of journalism careers for gifted kids? Here's hoping for good news

The news is out, and has been for some time, about the imminent death of print media. And yet, I am amazed that everywhere I teach--from my reporting and writing class at Loyola University Chicago to Northwestern University's summer program for gifted students--young men and women have a passion for pursuing journalism as a career. Maybe it has something to do with those glamorous images kids see of reporters in the movies and on TV. Maybe it's the rewards of a career that gives access to rock stars, famous folks and world leaders.

Today is my last day teaching 9-to-12 year olds at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development for this summer. In a grueling three weeks, we learned plenty about using strong verbs, beating writer's block and reviewing food in the dining hall the way a restaurant critic might. (Oh! The gargantuan grease slick covering those burgers. I think one kid wanted to rename those fatty patties in honor of BP.)

Many of these kids not only know they want to be journalists, but can tell you exactly what niche they want to occupy. Noor B., who's 9, wants to be a travel reporter. James J., 12, wants to work for ESPN or otherwise cover sports. He gave me World Cup updates every hour on the hour, it seemed.

But even with 20-plus years experience as a pro, there's one question I cannot answer for these bright students: Will there be journalism jobs waiting for them when they're ready to turn professional?