How thankful are you for your role in journalism today?

Here’s my shout-out to all you fellow journalists, working today instead of hitting the malls, sleeping in or lounging on the couch, like the rest of America today.

(Okay, I suppose some of you have been assigned to covering folks at the mall, but still….)

Allow me to turn things over to you today. How are you feeling about your journalism career, as the first decade of the 21st century moves toward its finish? How thankful are you for your role in journalism today?

Me? I’ve been on my own for going on 18 months now, and am throughly enjoying the adventure, though the lack of a constant paycheck (and employer-paid retirement or health benefits for my family) cranks up the stress some months.

But how much security would I have now working in a newsroom? Not so much, I’m afraid. At least by working on my own, I can exert more control over my future, building an audience, soliciting advertisers, and working new income opportunities. I’m not dependent upon a boss figuring out those new revenue opportunities, or a corporate board freaking out about its ROI. My life, and career, are on me, alone, and given how much bad management’s out there in this field today – that might be the most secure position to be in.

I’d love to hear where OJR readers are, and what you think. Please answer the poll question above by clicking on the situation closest to yours’, and then leave a thought in the comments. (Please also note that comments are held for review before being posted live to the site, no thanks to the spammers who seem to think this a lucrative place to post.)

Thank you for your ongoing support of OJR, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Question of the week: Going to journalism school – yes or no?

For this week’s discussion question, I’d like to hear about the academic preparation OJR readers had for their career.

Obviously, being housed and paid for by the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, OJR’s not exactly a neutral forum for this question. One might suspect that we’d have a larger-than-expected number of j-school folk hanging around here. But we do get a fair number of readers who did not come up through the traditional journalism ranks. So perhaps that will even things out a bit.

When answering this week’s question, go ahead and consider yourself a journalism school graduate if your college or university did not have a separate school of journalism, and you majored in journalism within some other school.

Finally, in the comments, we’d love to hear your thoughts on journalism school. Let’s give some advice to the students, and prospective students, reading OJR. Is a j-school degree necessary, or even helpful, to writing or publishing online? If you don’t have a j-school degree, do you wish you did? And if you do, do you now wish you’d majored in something else?

Question of the week: What's the best font for the Web?

I’ve spent some time this past week working on the back end of OJR, but, as such things go, now my thoughts go toward the front end of what a website should look like. And so, we have our question of the week.

What’s the best typeface for displaying text on the Web? I’m sure that many of you have your favorite studies, focus groups and/or personal biases to defend your choice. And we’d love to read about those in the comments.

For the undecided, I’ve provided a one-line sample of each, using a style call for those type faces. If you do not have it on your machine, the line likely will render in either Arial (OJR’s default) or whatever your browser is set to serve in lieu of Arial. (Update: I didn’t adjust the type sizes for the example below, and some typefaces work better with larger sizes, so please consider that when comparing the typefaces.)

Here is an example of Arial.
Here is an example of Courier New.
Here is an example of Georgia.
Here is an example of Times New Roman.
Here is an example of Trebuchet MS.
Here is an example of Verdana.

Please explain why you chose what you voted for, in the comments. How is your choice of typeface working for readers on your website?

Personally, I’ve mostly used Arial on my websites, though I’ve begun to use more Verdana. I’ve always been adhered to the idea that sans-serif fonts worked best for body type online, but given the better quality of monitors these days, and no longer so sure. I could be swayed by some good arguments….