A positive read on reading: Editor's Notes, April 2002
Published: March 6, 2002
|Every once in a while I hear dire predictions about the state of reading in America.|
According to this view, we have turned into a nation of headline-skimming, instant-gratification-seeking consumers of sound bytes, who can't concentrate longer than it takes to read a few paragraphs. The blame lies squarely with TV, the Internet and movies. (Note that all of the above employ writers.)
Is there any truth to this claim? A 2001 study of the reading habits of adolescents—conducted by the National Education Association—seems to indicate that the demise of reading is somewhat exaggerated.
A solid majority (56 percent) of those polled say that they read more than 10 books a year and 41 percent report reading more than 15 a year, according to the survey. Couple that with the remarkable popularity of the Harry Potter series, and you get the idea that there's a whole new generation of readers out there, which is good news for writers.
More good news comes from the recently released findings of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its study forecasts that jobs in media and communications will increase nearly 22 percent by 2010.
Expect a particularly strong demand for public relations specialists, especially in the health care field, and technical writers, reports Carol Deptolla in her informative survey of great jobs for writers (page 34 of the April Writer).
If you wonder what the hot jobs for writers are, you won't want to miss her article. She talked to recruiters, editors and writers to come up with the most promising opportunities. Her criteria are based on demand, pay and various intangible benefits, including flexibility, your interest in the field—such as science or medicine—and the opportunity to meet fascinating people.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also points out, however, that while the demand for writers is going up, so too is the competition. Deptolla's story doesn't stop at describing the best jobs, but offers tips on landing them. If you're wondering where to use your writing talents, this article will give you more than a few good ideas.
Celebrate Langston Hughes
April 2 is Langston Hughes Poetry Day, a nationwide celebration of the African-American poet in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Millions of adults and children across the country will become part of the world's largest poetry reading group as they gather together in schools, libraries, community centers, churches, hospitals and bookstores to read and discuss Hughes' poetry. The event is part of National Poetry Month (April), sponsored by The Academy of American Poets. To learn more about Hughes and NPM, visit www.poets.org.