The Publishing Downturn and Job Searches

In these uncertain economic times, a lot of formerly can’t-miss industries have taken a hard hit, and suddenly, that dream job of yours that matches up perfectly with your interests seems further and further out of reach. One such industry is publishing.

Newspapers and magazines have been taking hits on several fronts – rising production costs, erosion of readership due to competition from other forms of media – and it seems that every day brings more word of people being laid off, or publications planning to cut down their size, or papers just not hiring.

Does this mean that people who planned to make their careers out of writing are shut out of the job market altogether? Not entirely. You can still succeed if you do the following things:

1. Remember that new media is king. There’s a lot of writing jobs popping up nowadays involving Web sites, both standalone and affiliated with a traditional publication. Being prepared to write for a “dot-com,” plus a little HTML knowledge, can go a long way.

2. Have a specialty. While most kinds of publications have been struggling, specialty magazines – such as publications targeted at gamers – have been doing well. But at the same time,

3. Be versatile. Be ready to write about a variety of subjects, in a variety of media, at any time.

4. Remember that traditional magazines and newspapers aren’t the be- all and end-all of writing-related jobs. Trade publications, technical writing, copy writing and editing, writing newsletters for nonprofit organizations etc. are all very viable options. Don’t just look under “reporter” or “editor” on job seacrh sites, look for broader terms (such as “writer”).

Even in an industry that seems to be doing poorly, it’s still possible to go fan-to-pro. All you need to do it adjust your thinking a little.