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by Vault Careers | May 05, 2011


"These men and women, born in the late 1950s and early 1960s, did extraordinarily well in their 30s and 40s. But they are finding themselves elevated to top spots just in time to preside over sharp cuts in staff, circulation, revenue — and, ultimately, in influence. And unlike their forebears, they won't have the option of going out on top. "

"The media narrative surrounding their careers, generally written by people less successful and less well-paid than them, will depict what should be great triumphs as the end of success."—Daniel Gross, on Scott Pelley being named as anchor of CBS' 'Evening News'.

You can be forgiven if you missed the announcement that CBS' Scott Pelley has been chosen to replace Katie Couric as the 'CBS Evening News' anchor. There have, after all, been more important things in the news the past few days than the question of who is going to tell us about it on a nightly basis.

Then again, perhaps the fact that the announcement has garnered so little press just underscores Daniel Gross' core point: that the world has changed so much that media professionals of a certain age can only hope for a couple of well paid years at the top before descending into oblivion and irrelevance.

Can it really be as bad as that?

Unfortunately—at least in old media—the answer is yes. Ratings have been heading south since the dawn of the internet and, while major news outfits have done their best to incorporate social media, the rise of these technologies has simply hastened the decline. Little wonder that Gross "congratulates" Pelley by warning him that he's "now a failure."

The bigger question is whether the issue affects industries other than media. Obviously, there aren't too many other industries that depend so heavily on the concept of an audience, but the technological impact is another thing entirely. One example: the legal industry. While document reviewing is already being outsourced by some firms to save money, advances in computer intelligence may mean that these tasks could even be automated in the not-too-distant future.

Which other industries do you think are in a similar position? Or is the concept of the older worker being doomed to failure overblown? Have your say in the comments field below.

Yahoo! Finance: Congratulations Scott Pelley! But Now You're a Failure

Related: The Top 10 Dying Industries

--Phil Stott,


Filed Under: Workplace Issues