Collecting Letters from Former Journalists

The Columbia Journalism Review recently inaugurated “Parting Thoughts,” an ongoing series of letters from former journalists writing on the biz and its future. In the handful of letters published thus far, there are a lot of wise words–and surprisingly few embittered ones.

Some write about their path to an entirely new career, like Tracy Gordon Fox’s elegant letter describing her shift from crime reporter to nursing student, and John Biemer’s explaining why he chose med school over the Chicago Tribune. Others share their thoughts on the downfall of newspapers, and most offer some form of advice (encouraging, terrifying, or some combination of the two) to all the would-be journalists out there. Here’s former Wall Street Journal editor Winston Wood:

If you’re interested in journalism, even now, give it a shot. It’s a great way to learn about the world, develop communication and analytical skills, and provide a public service. But over the long haul, there’s more stability and better money to be made panhandling.

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