Thursday, December 11, 2008

As newspapers grow weak, encouraging teens to consider this career seems wrong

Despite protestations to the contrary, the net result of trying to operate on the cheap is a weakened product. Papers are foolishly eliminating many of the features that attracted readers in the first place. While that might help finances in the short term, it could spell more disaster down the road.

I have spent most of my career urging young people to consider careers in journalism. I was founding director of workshops affiliated with the National Association of Black Journalists chapters in St. Louis, Washington and New York, which encouraged minority high school students to enter the profession. As a past chairman of Youth Communication, a news service for teen papers across the country, and as a board member of Young D.C., a regional teen paper, I have worked with hundreds of young people over the years, many of whom entered the field.

This has always been a source of great pride for me. But now, for the first time, I am wondering if I did the right thing

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