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57-year-old made staff reporter

You have to wonder at the state of our industry when the story about how a newspaper just employed a 57-year-old news reporter made headline news yesterday.

And no, I'm not thinking that the news site E24.no was wrong to run it, which it did under the broader headline "57-year-old gets permanent job" - but it really makes me wonder about the state of the world in general, and about the media industry in particular.

It's devastating that we live in such an ageist time that such a story is headline news, pretty much regardless of profession, and it's particularly sad that this is especially true in our industry and that many resourceful people with very valuable experience are simply let go, or unable to find new jobs, when they reach a certain age.

Amusingly, I vivildy remember being told at 26 that I was getting old for the news industry by a former UK news executive (we never worked together, it was just a piece of friendly advice).

Of course, sometimes it's the other way around: young reporters with valuable multimedia skills find themselves the first to loose their jobs in financial crisis'. These matters often depend on issues such as how strong the journalist union is in a certain country or in a certain media company.

But I do wish we could look more towards getting the right balance of skills and experience, and not let age become a variable in itself.

At least to me, age has always been a state of mind.


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