Happy 17th Birthday JobFile!

JobFile began in 1993 as a faxed list of less than a page going to seven clients, all of them university placement offices.  A phone message component was begun soon thereafter. JobFile first appeared on the Web in 1997 and soon supplanted the fax.  The phone line hung on a bit longer but it, too, is long gone.  (The original phone number ended in “LIES.”  Honest.)  


Today, 17 years later, JobFile is distributed to nearly 1,000 subscribers each week, in addition to the Web sites of its partners, the Chicago Headline Club chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.  It’s pretty much always been a one-person operation, although it’s listed as a “joint project.”  INBA and the Headline Club both have individuals who post the listings online for me (thank you!) and INBA’s Jim Gee has set the weekly e-blast in motion for the past year and a half.   Many people think those individuals are the ones who deserve blame (usually) or credit (occasionally) for doing the work of culling through all of the e-mails and condensing (in most cases) the much longer listings, but that’s still me.  

I can’t guarantee we’ll be here another 17 years, but it’s nice to know people still appreciate a good place to find a job.  We can’t guarantee that they’re all good jobs, but they’re jobs in a business in which there have never been enough positions.  

Times have changed and jobs have changed.  There’s a whole segment of the industry — online delivery — that didn’t even exist when JobFile was teething.  And now it seems that everyone has to be a generalist — write, shoot, edit, design — the works.  Some have even called me an expert, but what I know is what those posting the jobs tell me.

It’s my hope that you have checked out the Web sites of our partners, for they have a lot to offer Midwestern journalists.  Consider membership in both groups, and if you live outside the immediate region, find groups that espouse similar principles.  SPJ and INBA are groups that take defense of the First Amendment seriously.  If there were no First Amendment, you would be looking at a slim list indeed.  

Many thanks.  It’s Saturday as I write this; it’s been a busy week at the INBA and SPJ conventions, which is why this is running a bit late.  And now, as always, I’d like nothing better than to see everyone reading this get a job today.

Bob Roberts
JobFile editor