1. Go into journalism straight out of college.
2. Work for a decade or two, building yourself up as a prominent voice in a particular niche.
3. Take a buyout or just find a better-paying job, then set up a blog/site/podcast that takes advantage of the expertise you built up in journalism.
It makes perfect sense. Journalism will continue to exist, but if you're under 40, your chances of promotion to a family-supporting job will be minimal. You'll eventually face pressure to head out the door because, even though you're making less than your similarly educated peers in other fields, you're making more than the kid they can hire for your job.
And that's why I'm happy to see a talented TV critic like Ed Bark embracing the change.
I don't mean to sound like a negative nabob while there are so many good people gathered in Durham to talk about the Next Newsroom. I see this career path as a positive. Perhaps journalism will lose a lot of good people when they hit age 35, 40 or 45, but that's better than leaving them in unfulfilling jobs. And perhaps this sort of path will attract a few good people in the first place.
(Note to USAT folks: No, I'm not leaving! I'm just starting to have fun.)