That's exactly what could happen if hedge fund Starboard Value gets its way at AOL. As BLOOMBERG reports, Starboard, which owns 5.2% of AOL stock, told AOL that it isn't happy with the current strategy. That strategy, as many know, is based on providing tons of original content in order to attract more business for online ads. Starboard is demanding more focus on the company's intellectual property, which it values at about a billion bucks.
Should there be a shift in strategy, many of those communications folks employed at AOL could be cut loose. Some could get comparable jobs. Many won't. To survive they will have to get the hang of reinventing themselves for the commercial side of broadcast, writing or editing. That's a big leap.
To prepare for it, they might do non-journalistic freelance assignments on the side. I did the reverse. As a ghostwriter/copywriter for years, I sought out journalistic opportunities. When I had downsized my expenses and could try out that career path, I had the portfolio and contacts to get in. The experience of being part of breaking news at AOL was extraordinary. I wouldn't have gotten it had I not moonlighted.