Journalism is exciting but tough. I should know. I’ve been a journalist for 4 years in mid-90s. I loved every minute of it but had a hard time making ends meet. I was an NPC (National Press Club) member reporter accredited both with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress. That was all fine and dandy but money-wise the picture always looked bleak.
So I had to throw in the towel in 1998 to feed my family. I shifted to technical writing and never looked back since then.
I believe the situation got even worse since I left journalism. Back then the daily papers and periodicals were not in trouble, yet… But today even industry leaders like The New York Times, The Washington Post, all Tribune papers are suffering from declining advertisement revenues and readership. The budgets are shrinking and it’s becoming harder and harder to find a lucrative position in print journalism.
There are some opportunities in TV and radio but the Internet has really fragmented what was once a solid block of “mass audience” and it’s not going to get any better any time soon. There are many new channels through which consumers are getting their news these days and they are not limited to traditional TV or radio. Who would have thought ten years ago that Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” a satire program, would end up as one of the highest rated “news programs” in the United States? There are many people who just watch the YouTube both for news and entertainment. Under such conditions to make a living as a traditional reporter and journalist is of course becoming a harder task than ever.
That’s why perhaps you should consider technical writing like I did back in 1998.
Consider the advantages of technical writing as compared to journalism:
Technical writers have a much easier time finding a job since documentation is a constant feature of globalization. Technical writers own their cars and homes; put food on the table every day; enjoy paid annual vacations, personal days, and sick days; have full medical (and usually dental and vision as well) coverage both for themselves and their loved ones; help their kids through college; enjoy all-expenses paid training opportunities; reap the benefits of a rewarding, challenging, professional career; feel the satisfaction of helping others live better and more organized lives; and retire with 401(k) plans, IRAs, and sometimes even Pension Plans (depending on the company).
So perhaps it’s time to ask yourself – why not try technical writing? There is a great demand for technical writers especially in large metropolitan areas with industry and commerce, and moreover, anybody can do it!
Just look at me – I did not speak even a single word of English until I was 13. But I earned a solid living for the last 10 years as a technical writer in the software industry. If I can do it, don’t you think you can do it too?
Give it a sincere thought. There is no reason why you shouldn’t learn more about technical writing, even if you’ve never thought about it before.