Dads don’t let their daughters grow up to be journalists (or do they?)

You may have noticed that this blog has been slightly neglected over the past few months. Well, you can blame my daughter. Since becoming a father (insert adorable photo here) I’ve discovered that free time is a luxury. So my apologies for the lack of updates, but now that I’m officially back in the newspaper business (more on that in a later post) my goal is update SJL on a more regular basis.

Speaking of babies, I got to thinking, should I encourage my daughter to become a journalist? Now, of course she’s only 7 months but one day she’s going to ask herself the question “What do I want to do when I grow up?”

Now of course there are many reasons why one should consider journalism: it’s a (semi) respected field, it’s vital to democracy, the world will arguably always need someone who can string together a sentence or two, and it beats being a cow artificial inseminator. On the flip side, there’s a host of reasons why a young person should run away from journalism as fast as he or she can run. The crazy and long hours, the insultingly low pay, and career market more unstable than the San Andreas Fault line are reasons enough to hope my daughter shows an interest in law, medicine, or middle-management at a customer service call center.

Even after me pointing out all the cons of being a journalist my daughter still insisted on following her father’s footsteps into journalism this is the advice I’d have for her:

  • Become an expert in something.  I would strongly advise her to not make journalism her only major (at the state college I’m paying for or the private school she got a scholarship to). Double major in business, economics, political science or even law so that way she could enter the journalism market as a expertise in something and so she will have a more successful fallback career in case journalism doesn’t work out.
  • Be media agnostic. Journalists who learn just one medium are like auto mechanics that only repair red 1976 Datsuns. I’d recommend learning the basics of reporting in all mediums (audio, print, tv, holographs – or whatever replaces newspapers in 20 years) that way she doesn’t limit herself to just one field and she’ll be qualified for more underpaid jobs.
  • Be your own boss. Not too many people become wildly successful by working for someone else. Whether it’s something on the side or a full-time job, start something on your own –  a blog, novel, or even your own news agency. Sure, it’s a risk but when she just works for the Man, her livelihood is dependent on the Man deciding if he wants to pay her tomorrow. And if it doesn’t work out, she can move back home (that’s if I haven’t turned her bedroom into my virtual reality golf course).

And finally –

  • Really, journalism!? In the year 2032 aren’t Fox News and news-writing robots going to be the only remaining news sources?



  1. Meg says:

    As an editor/columnist daughter of a sportswriter, I can definitely relate to many of your points! Diversifying is great advice. And getting into hologram reporting — I heard that’s going to be big in 2032. Best to get the edge now.

    (And your daughter is very cute — congrats!)

  2. Carol says:

    Love this! My own father could have written it. I am a third generation news reporter and my father encouraged me to write and semi-encouraged me to become a reporter. I say semi because when the time came for me to make a college decision, he said if I wanted to take the vow of poverty, become a nun, because I would make more than I would in the media. I did end up doing a double major in journalism and poli sci. Fortuntely for me, once I covered all those sewer district and school board meetings, I paid my dues and have been with the same paper for 21 years this November.
    In this media age, I might have second thoughts…

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