Sara Morrison’s well-reported, very moving piece (“See you on the other side” cjr, May/June) about Jessica Lum, whose tragic death cut short a very promising life in journalism, leads to something important to remember. Although there is much (justified!) wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth these days about the multiplicity of delivery methods and the difficulty in obtaining paid work in journalism, we need to think about the many Jessica Lums in our world: young people who are inspired and driven to do meaningful reporting; young people who will pay whatever dues they have to—at least for a while—looking for a break; young people who need to be taught, mentored, supported. We should be honored by her example, and dedicated in her memory.
Jessica was the perfect example of a life well lived. It’s not the length of life; it’s the depth. Stunning and heartfelt story.
Thanks, Beryl Lieff Benderly, for her article on the erroneous notion that the US suffers a shortage of STEM workers (“It doesn’t add up,” CJR, May/June). I have worked in IT for nearly 40 years, and although I’m nearing retirement, I keep fighting the guest-worker program (H1-B) with my senator and congressman. Our government is allowing corporations to fill challenging jobs with cheap labor. The guest-worker program was designed to bring over from other countries their “best and brightest”; instead, we are bringing over sub-par workers at a discount. There is no shortage of qualified college grads, and we should put them to work before resorting to hiring guest workers. Unfortunately, my argument keeps falling on deaf ears.
Comment posted on CJR.org
Congratulations again to Beryl Benderly on another terrific piece that exposes the obvious truth, when most of the press is mesmerized by PR nonsense from the tech giants.
New York, NY
I’m not in the STEM field, so I really appreciate Beryl Benderly’s careful marshaling of the facts and avoidance of inflammatory remarks or exaggeration. Her article is a valuable contribution toward understanding an issue of major importance for stem professionals and for our country.
George A. Goldberg
Santa Monica, CA
The majority of our engineers beyond their mid-40s are now either unemployed or underemployed. Half of our nation’s graduates with STEM degrees are unable to find work in STEM fields. Yet 30 to 50 percent of all new IT jobs go to foreigners on temporary US work visas.
These facts are well known in corporate boardrooms. But cheap labor has been a boon to their profits (at a six-decade high and massively profitable to foreign interests—the top 10 users are off-source, outsourcing companies with six headquartered in India).
Tens of thousands have written their representatives; many have testified; and every unbiased study has proven that corporate claims of “skilled labor shortage” are a lie; and that there is indeed an abundance of Americans with every bit of smarts, skills, and education to fill any and all job openings.
Over-50, unemployed engineer
In “The back page” by Jeffrey Robinson (CJR, May/June), we had it wrong: Murray Weiss didn’t begin his career at the International Herald Tribune, but at the New York Herald Tribune. And in “Streams of consciousness” by Ben Adler (CJR, May/June), ABC News is a client of Storyful, not NBC News.
Notes from our online readers
In early June, CJR science news reporter Curtis Brainard wrote a piece that praised Discover Magazine blogger Keith Kloor for forging a beat out of noting when media publish work that misleadingly calls genetically modified food dangerous. Some GMOs, Brainard said, have been deemed safe by the likes of the World Health Organization. “The media have stoked irrational distrust of science in many fields over the years, from vaccines to climate change,” Brainard wrote. “But today, such fear-mongering is most evident in the coverage of genetically modified foods, with many journalists turning people against them.” He lauded Kloor for pieces about The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, and The Guardian. Readers responded: