I find I get mostly two responses from established reporters when they’re forced to respond to me and my generation of journalists. It’s something I’ve touched on after events before.
The first comes teary-eyed.
Some seem to offer despondent pity and sympathy for me, for the times and power and success I missed out on, for the dark, post-journalistic-apocalyptic world I’ve entered — a sentiment that often reaches a fever pitch when we discuss my attempt to freelance full-time while starting out.
It’s the seemingly unintentional, passive-aggressive jab that I sometimes get from older or otherwise more established journalists, writers and editors. Most often and in many ways, I’m sure the sentiment is pristine in its accuracy, often abutted by the never-to-be-defended-against “it takes time,” which, of course is always true.
But I can’t help but think what’s happened since, say, 2007 or even later, is something bigger that is changing the value of a lot of once rock solid professional advice for young and otherwise aspiring journalists, and making it awfully hard out there.
There has been a great loss in the level of activism among college students since the turbulent 1960s. Complacency reigns over the people. Today’s twenty-something, anarchist-punk, bicycle-messenger population is dwindling. Those that have survived are crestfallen.
The man with the thin gray goatee – and a framed photograph of himself looking hairier and suspiciously uninhibited in 1972 – laments, if only half seriously, that the ire of this young generation cannot seem to be adequately risen.
It was different when he was young, he’ll tell you.