Cuts to the editorial board at Newsweek and the Daily Beast last Thursday resulted in the layoff of Robin Givhan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former fashion editor at the Washington Post. Robin Givhan left the Post after 15 years to join Newsweek in December of 2010. Newsweek will be publishing its last print version on December 31, 2012.
For aspiring journalists, Givhan's situation is scary to think about. If one of the most prominent journalists of our time gets laid off, then why should journalists of lesser prominence expect any different? As an undergraduate, I was terrified when I read the Daily Beast’s “13 Most Useless Degrees” article, which features nearly every major I’ve ever been interested in.
In a scary economic time, little value is placed on learning for learning’s sake. As a result, journalism and other creative fields are often seen as obsolete. This is a logical assumption since most people work to survive and fields outside of business, science and mathematics are harder to survive on a lot of time.
But let’s face it — a lot of people aren’t cut out for those fields. Like me, for instance: Math is not my forte. So we should stop pressuring ourselves and others to go into a field for money’s sake. Of course, if you have people dependent upon you financially, things get a bit trickier.
To some, Robin Givhan’s layoff from Newsweek might seem like proof that journalism is a dying field. In the sense that print journalism is on its way out, that is true. It’s the digital age and journalism is changing along with everything else.
So aspiring journalists should take heart! Journalism is not dead, and as long as anyone is getting paid to write, Robin Givhan will have a job available to her. That’s what happens when you find something you love to do and you perfect your skills. The jobs track you down. (Even if they sometimes lay you off.)