Meta on the Media: One Writer’s Forecast for the Next Era of Journalism

By Savannah Peykani

You know that face people make when you tell them what your major is? That consoling, “Oh, good luck with unemployment and student loan debt” face. Well, maybe this applies to some majors more than others. But trust me, if you’ve never seen this face, it’s probably because you’re the one making it.

And seeing this face really hurts.

It took me many years to develop a thick enough skin and the belief in myself and my passion to become desensitized to that kind of pity. I can only speak on behalf of the journalism field, but in regards to anyone interested in working “in the media,” I have good news. We are going to find jobs!

Everyone blames the Internet for the “death of print journalism” (which…  yes, is a reality). However, that doesn’t also signal the death of all journalism. All media. It just means that our news, our culture, is now going to be spread and discussed differently. Online content has become a literally endless horizon for creating, uploading and sharing all kinds of content or all kinds of audiences. It’s not a death, but a rebirth.

Whenever I feel hopeless about my future, I think about Tavi Gevinson. This twenty-year-old media maven started a fashion blog when she was a weird middle school girl who read more Vogue than vampire books. In the last eight years, that blog has blossomed into Rookie Mag, a unique site that allows for feminine voices to give advice, post artwork and music and analyze the latest sociopolitical issues. It’s kind of genius. And Gevinson started it just as a girl who liked couture and writing.

Then there’s Sophia Amoruso, whose 2014 book “Girl Boss” has started its own cool-girl movement, following the explosion of her site Nasty Gal. Amoruso got lucky in the early days of eBay, collecting some sweet vintage finds and reselling them on her own site. Now, Nasty Gal is a $250 million enterprise and I know people with #girlboss tattoos.

Sure, Gevinson and Amoruso capitalized on the cusp on Internet media culture. Frankly, I don’t think that these stories could be repeated with as much international success today. The problem is now the supply is greater than the perceived demand. Everyone and anyone can have a blog, create their “personal brand,” upload their work and try to get some attention. It’s become too easy; standing out seems nearly impossible.

But I don’t necessarily look at the situation so bleakly. I think that the demand is actually a lot higher than we think. Turning to a blog or an Instagram account as the main source of media has become the new normal. For some, that is a fat pill to swallow. Like it or not, however, we are fully submerged in a pool of links and likes. If that means that my creative and talented peers can upload their originality and know that there’s someone out there looking for it, can that really be a bad thing? All it really means is that now we have to work that much harder to stand out, to be fresh. We have to earn that like!

Almost every time I talk to my mom, she ends up finding a way to insert a story about someone she knows who has attained to marketing/media related job. She wants me to know that when I graduate, I will be hireable. That my brand is valued somewhere with a steady income. I always tell her that I’m not worried. And you shouldn’t be either.