Sanguine Sallys, Nervous Nellies

Online journalists are, apparently, both optimistic and frightened about what the future holds for their craft. And in roughly equal measure.

Hmm. That paradox—the core takeaway of the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s just-released survey of nearly 300 members of the Online News Association (an addendum to its 2009 State of the News Media report)—would seem, were it related to another industry, appropriately dissonant. But it’s a conclusion whose own discord is perfectly appropriate—obvious, even—for describing the state of a profession whose future will likely be defined by another, and overarching, paradox: creative destruction.

“I think there’s a huge potential in online journalism, but there’s also a lot of scary stuff out there….We have to try to not lose our way,” one respondent told PEJ.

Yet: “it’s a good feeling to work in a part of the industry that has hope for the future,” declared another.

Indeed. More on the survey below, and on PEJ’s Web site.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.