A recent survey by the University of Georgia has shown that journalism graduates are seeing an increase in job prospects. According to CNN Money, the survey found that in 2012 about 66 percent of journalism graduates found full-time jobs within six to eight months of their graduation. This number is up slightly from the 62 percent who found full-time employment in 2011, and marks a significant jump from the 56 percent who found jobs in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Despite this, journalism grads may still face grim job prospects and low salaries as the shift in news media from print to online publications, combined with the recession, threaten even the most established news outlets. While some papers, such as The New York Times, have adapted through online subscription models, others have seen revenue drop so sharply that they have resorted to being acquired by wealthy companies and/or individuals. Some recent, high-profile newspaper acquisitions, according to CNN Money, include Jeff Bezos’ recent purchase of The Washington Post in August, IBT Media’s buying of Newsweek, and John Henry’s acquisition of The Boston Globe.

Major figures in the publishing industry view these acquisitions with varying levels of optimism. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, believes that Bezos has the resources and business savvy to reshape The Washington Post — and even the journalism industry as a whole — for the better. “[An] essential quality Bezos possesses is his understanding of the power of engagement,” she writes. “This is especially important as the media moves from a model of presentation to one focused on participation. News is now an ongoing two-way conversation.” Huffington also thinks “[t]he future of journalism will definitely be a hybrid one, combining the best practices of traditional journalism — fairness, accuracy, storytelling, deep investigations — with the best tools available to the digital world — speed, transparency, and, above all, engagement.”

David Horsey of The Los Angeles Times takes a slightly more cautious view. “[T]he question is, does Bezos really understand the core mission of journalism? Unlike any other business, a news enterprise often engages in the kind of hard-hitting reporting that alienates customers and provokes the ire of important leaders in government and the corporate world,” Horsey writes. “The best news organizations will spend great amounts of money on endeavors such as investigative reporting and far-flung news bureaus that will never be profit centers.”

Horsey is correct that journalism’s central mission is communicating detailed, informative, and insightful content to the public, independent of revenue considerations. However, recent developments in the news industry, documented and discussed by The Pew Research Center, have shown that neglecting to view journalism as a business can ironically lead news outlets down the very path they initially wished to avoid.

According to the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2013, traditional American journalism is losing the resources to create the high-caliber content that readers expect. As a result, these readers are turning to other sources of news, creating a downward revenue spiral for conventional news outlets that forces them to resort to cost-saving measures that only further dilute the depth and quality of their articles. Examples of such measures include Forbes’ use of automated content development software Narrative Science, which creates articles through an algorithm, sans human reporting. Other publications, such as Fortune, have made partnerships with advertisers and publicists in order to continue producing content on their limited budget. Fortune’s partnership initiative, the Trusted Original content (TOC) program, involves Fortune writers creating Fortune-branded content for advertisers to use in their marketing activities.

It was the prospect of compromising on news quality that motivated Don Graham, The Washington Post’s owner, to sell to Bezos, writes Horsey. “Two years ago, Don Graham was brought to the realization that he had three choices: keep losing gobs of money, start making cuts in staff and quality that would turn the Post into a mediocre rag, or sell the newspaper to someone who might be able to sustain financial losses while reinventing the business. Graham chose the third option.”

As these developments illustrate, quality journalism requires a steady and sufficient revenue stream, and just how to go about generating and maintaining this revenue with the advent of digital journalism has been the main challenge and point of confusion for people in the journalism industry. The Pew Research Center reports that “many news executives believe that a new business model will emerge in which the mix between advertising and circulation revenue will be close to equal, most likely with a third leg of new revenues that are not tied directly to the news product.” As for what this new business model will look like, or what this third leg of revenues will consist of, the report does not give details, likely due to the fact that reporters, journalism executives, and researchers do not have a clear-cut answer.

Despite the undeniable struggles that journalism currently faces, some believe that this transition to online news media actually constitutes an improvement in American journalism. As Huffington argues that the future of journalism is optimistic because it is moving towards a more interactive, user-centric model, so does Matthew Iglesias of Slate assert that American news is undergoing a democratization that will ultimately hold news sources more accountable for what readers want.

“American news media has never been in better shape,” he declares, citing the fact that competition among different news sources has lead to an abundance of information on the Web, leaving the reader free to piece these various sources together to “add depth and context” to their understanding of current events. “Just ask yourself: Is there more or less good material for you to read today than there was 13 years ago? The answer is, clearly, more.”

While Iglesias is correct that more news content is now available online than ever before, in the form of smaller journalistic websites, blogs, social media and informative branded content, one must also keep in mind that more content does not necessarily equal better knowledge.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, touches on this point in an interview excerpt published in CNN Money for the Niemen Journalism Lab: “There’s a need for journalism. People are desperate for it. People are fed up with spam. They’re fed up with just searching, using a web search tool to find a medical article, then realizing only after they have gone to the bottom of the article, and followed the advice, and bought the drugs that the whole thing was produced by the same pharmaceutical company, with an extremely slanted view. … [J]ournalists have got the skills and the motivation. It’s their job to solve that problem.”

In order for all the readily available news sources to equal an authentically informative experience, readers must first understand what constitutes a quality article, and what does not. And journalists, for their part, must find a viable way to balance revenue production with the delivery of quality content that readers can trust.