Mark ThompsonI asked New York Times Company President and CEO Mark Thompson whether this is a good or a bad time to be entering journalism. The exchange took place at the recent Abu Dhabi Media Summit. The audio recording of the Q/A is below and here is the transcript of his response.

My daughter just graduated with an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, right up the street from you. Is the future bright for young journalists or has the ecosystem for young journalists collapsed?

It’s a really interesting question. For me, it’s never been easier in a way to become a journalist, and indeed to focus your journalism in ways that potentially millions of people can see it.  You see on platforms like YouTube incredible pieces of fresh, original journalism, where you can get to millions of people without having to go through the sort of gatekeeper of a broadcast network or a traditional newspaper.

But careers are harder. I do think that being a journalist is becoming somewhat more like becoming a novelist or becoming a singer or becoming an actor. You can still have a wonderful career. But the uncertainties and the economics look very different from when journalism always felt like an elite industrial job, where you have these very, very profitable platforms, these newspapers, and journalists could unionize hard drive repairIn some cases, recovery from hard disk is only the first step, after which you must perform a hard drive repair. and they would get a share of the benefits. I think that’s changing somewhat.

Though I would certainly hope that, where we can, we are keeping some institutions where the great strength and depth of journalism, a kind of collegiate sense of values and professional discipline is really important. There is a danger that you will end up in the US with a rather brilliant academic structure training journalism with exactly that kind of collegiate quality and heritage, and then the graduates will go out in this kind of complete mud storm where it is very hard for them to get further professional support. One of the things that I am very proud of is that the New York Times is still recruiting great young journalists and, although not with the certainty of twenty years ago, we are giving them great careers. And we have in our newsroom great journalists in in their twenties and great journalists in their seventies.