Today, I spoke with Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, who is an ex-Time journalist and is in the process of establishing a new blog and personal website.  Lisa talks about how print is on it’s way out and why it’s not smart to be a journalist in this day in age.  This is an interesting take from a past insider at a major media outlet and I think it’s a rude awakening for that entire industry.

Lisa, the last few posts on your Time blog talk about you leaving the company.  How are you able to remain so transparent and why are you OK with telling people you’re leaving?

Dan, I guess I’m not sure I understand the question. Why wouldn’t I be okay with telling people I’m leaving? Work in Progress was a blog about jobs, careers and, often, my own work. So my departure seemed relevant, particularly in the wake of the blood bath that was the American job market. Didn’t it?

Why should anyone leave their job now?  What are the pros and cons?

I can only answer this from my perspective. I volunteered for the buyout at my company because a) my industry is dying and I wanted to get off the ship; b) I’d already survived five layoffs, and I figured my number will soon be up anyway; c) all the cool kids were doing it, and I’m a follower; d) after 16 years of journalism, I want to try my hand at something new, like professional Dumpster diving; e) I was sick of the cafeteria food. On the downside, it’s the worst job market ever in the history of mankind, to hear tell on the news. On the upside, we’re all in it together.

What did you learn from being a journalist for so many years?  What tips would you give to aspiring journalists?

What are you talking about? There’s no future in journalism. I would tell aspiring journalists to go learn a real trade, like plumbing. Seriously, I had a fantastic run and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for a pile of money. The best thing about being a journalist is it gives you an excuse to be curious. About anything. And then to go satisfy that curiosity. I would tell aspiring journalists to leave all that J-school garbage behind. It’s a brave new world for the field, and they can find a place in it; just not at the old venues.

What is your vision for the future of media?  Do you think it rests with blogs and online sites?  Will print cease to exist in 5 years?

Dude, I don’t have a crystal ball. But, sure, yes, the future of journalism is online. I don’t know if, say, TIME magazine will be around in five years, but I knew my job as a staff writer there would not.

How have you built your personal brand as a journalist?

I have a plan. 1. Get hired on “The View” and start spouting contrarian opinions on news events. 2. Appear on Page Six twice a month wearing nothing but a feather boa and a monkey. 3. Go to rehab. 4. Write a memoir.

I don’t know, man. There’s probably a magic formula involving blogs and TV appearances and a carefully marketed book. If I were advising an earnest young somebody, that’s probably the three-pronged approach I’d recommend. Me, I’m just a tired mom trying to change careers in the midst of a screeching, howling recession.

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
will be launching her new website, on March 16th and her new blog at, which is a new aggregator of topical blogs by journalists and writers.  Before this, she was a New York-based staff writer at Time. She wrote about workplace, business and society trends for the magazine and Some of those trends included snooping bosses, teen interns and cubicles of the future.  Cullen joined the magazine in 2001 as a Tokyo correspondent. Born and raised in Kobe—a harbor city known for beer-fed beef and one heck of an earthquake—she returned to her home country to write about women who fetishize black U.S. servicemen in Okinawa, Asia’s plastic surgery phenomenon, and Japan’s pop-star machinery.