An amusing, grim guide to journalism careers on Gawker points out that if you're getting into the field, you might as well quit now. From newspapers to trades to online ventures, the prospects are hopeless. This is what Gawker has to say about working for "good" magazines:
Oh, these are the jobs everybody wants. You want to write for the New Yorker. Or Vanity Fair, or GQ, or Vogue, or Wired, or SI, or the 50 or so other big splashy magazines that, you know, everybody wants to write for.
These jobs were always driven by connections. And guess what: they're still driven by connections, but there are even less jobs to go around now! So your chances are even worse than they would have been historically. These good jobs are never advertised, so you have to be well-connected enough to hear about them from an insider. Big magazine companies are cutting budgets and instituting hiring freezes. And every veteran magazine writer has a huge ego, so forget trying to cut in line ahead of them. Plan on getting to one of these places later in your career, as the icing on the cupcake of many years of experience, and you'll save yourself a bunch of heartache. Build up to these magazines from other, nonexistent entry-level writing jobs.
And about journalism in general:
If you're just getting into journalism, the job market is already flooded with people with far more experience than you who've been laid off, and are competing for the same jobs. If you're employed, moving up is treacherous—you never know when the new job you just took could disappear for reasons unrelated to anything you did personally.
Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.