Professional amateurism (pro-am) is a socioeconomic bluring of the distinction between professional and amateur within any endeavor or attainable skill that could be labeled professional (Wikipedia, 2015). It generally occurs in populations that have more leisure time and live longer, allowing the pursuit of hobbies and other non-essential interests at a professional or near professional knowledge and skill level (Wikipedia, 2015). Pro-ams are people perusing amateur activities to professional standards. Charles Leadbeater says “pro-ams live healthier and more satisfied lives”.
In a way pro-ams represent a return to our past: until the 20th century, much science was conducted by amateur societies (Thompson, 2004). The twentieth century was shaped by the rise of professionals in most career paths. Formerly amateur activities become organised, and knowledge and procedures were confined and regulated. Professionalism was a mark of seriousness and high standards, however in the past two decades amateurs became pro-ams that work to professional standards. Pro-ams are knowledgeable, educated and committed and networked by new technology and are creating new, distributed organisational models that will be innovative, adaptive and low cost.
In the journalism industry in particular, the online environment has created an open environment for bloggers and participatory journalists to delve into their passion and write without any professional qualifications. Blog Websites such as tumblr and other social media elements such as facebook, Instagram, twitter ect, allow anyone to post on any element of their lives. Pro-ams as journalists would, howveer find it difficult to attain a stable income as anyone can write in this open social environment, yet if popular enough, they can make a fortune. Its all about building yourself credibility or developing news that interests others.
Pro-ams reflect the recent social changes that are occurring right in front of our eyes. In the modern day we are living longer which gives us the desire to hunger for a richer life, as we get bored of our daily professional careers. Individual’s interests from their youth are becoming a reality. They are treating their interests of leisure from their youth or their desired hobbies seriously and want to get personal benefits out of it. Many people enjoy sharing their personal information, holidays, travel experiences, fitness journals ect with others which is in recent times becoming a very common journalistic pro-am opportunity.
Pro-ams are unlikely to earn more than a small portion of their income from their past times, however will pursue their activity or hobby with the commitment associated with a professional career. They do not earn more than 50% of their income from their pro-am activities. They do, however spend a large share of their disposable income supporting their past times or future desires and interests.
Pro-ams leisure is active and participatory, and involves utilising publicly accredited knowledge and skills, often built up over a long career, which has involved scarifies and frustrations. It is a very serious activity involving training, rehearsal competition and grading and also sacrifice and frustration. Pro-ams are absorbed in their activities, which yield intense experiences of creativity and self-expression. They achieve self-identity and a sense of control which is crucial in them achieving pleasure and happiness from their activity. Pro-ams leisure activities generate more social benefits than passive casual leisure.
Pro-ams can offer unique and newsworthy stories to tell society, however professional journalists are more effective in developing the best content, taking into consideration news values, which are crucial.
People with pro-am skills tend to be more resilient. A shadow pro-am career is a form of insurance: everyone should have pro-am skills to fall back on should their formal and professional career run into the sand.
Pro-ams aim to build social capital, which refers to networks of relationships that allow people to collaborate, share ideas and take risks together. They create strong bonds around their interests, but because these interests span different communities they can link people from very different walks of life. It is pro-ams aims in the journalistic environment to build a strong social capital and build credibility to determine their successes. Jenkins, 2011 said, “Who is presenting the information becomes less important–authenticity of information becomes more apparent”.
Therefore, I believe individuals will have greater motivation and dedication to their professional career, due to pro-ams, as they will want to spend money later on in their lives on passions and desires from their youth. It will allow individuals to strive for a lifestyle change In order to receive both social and personal benefits. The journalism industry beneficial for both pro-ams in their shadow career and for professionals as their main income source.
New York Times. (n.d.). Professional Amateurs – The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/professional-amateurs.html?_r=0
The Pro Am Revolution. (2004). Retrieved from http://charlesleadbeater.net/2004/11/the-pro-am-revolution/
The Pro-am Revolution. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.demos.co.uk/files/proamrevolutionfinal.pdf
Wikipedia. (2015). Amateur professionalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_professionalism