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Asking what to tell someone starting in the profession

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I am having lunch today with the recently hired city editor of the weekly newspaper I serve as sports editor, which basically means I write a weekly roundup of the high school's varsity sporting events.

    (That is all we have room for and the best way to serve the readers.)

    Said city editor is less than a year out of college. What advice should I give her about this profession?

    I have to be realistic about the chances for advancement. I will mention that she should consider trying to get into one of the top graduate schools such as Columbia or Northwestern. Getting a degree from either place would increase her chances of employment, even in the current conditions.

    I will tell her to get out of the weekly as soon as possible so she can start building the daily experience, a key in getting future jobs. I think she would be better off as an editorial assistant at one of the region's daily newspapers because that would at least get her a foot in the door.

    What suggestions could I make so her writing can improve, other than the usual, "write as much as you can, read as much as you can?" My pet peeve in the fulltime cityside editing job I have with a daily organization is that too often the reporters do not call the other side for comment, especially in stories about gun control and animal rights.
  2. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    You pretty much laid out everything that's right to say in your post. Re-read it and be honest and forthright with 'em.
  3. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    Tell her to have a back-up plan.
    If she goes back to school and is insistent on pursuing a journalism career, take web design classes.
    Become as well-rounded as possible. The best advice I ever got from a J-professor was that the best journalists know this much (nearly pinching his thumb and forefinger together) about everything.
    Write with passion. If she doesn't care about the topic she's reporting on, how are her readers supposed to care?
    Enjoy every day in the newsroom. There's no other place like it in the world, filled with tragredy, frustration, laughter and joy. Tell her to laugh out loud as much as possible and never take herself or her bosses too seriously.
  4. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Tell them . . . .


    RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY!!!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Get out. Now.

    As for writing, the best way to improve is to write constantly. You get better at writing by writing.
  6. I'd say get out. Or maybe give Columbia a shot. And, even then, give this like until age 28 or so, max, and if you aren't where you want to be, GTFO. Far too much heartache in this for little tangible reward.
  7. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Just make sure that the person know what he or she is getting into.

    When that's understood, then you've done your job.
  8. greenlantern

    greenlantern Guest

    Piotr, couldn't have said it better myself.
  9. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    I had someone email me for "advice" about journalism. He was thinking of majoring in it in school and wanted to graduate and work in print.

    I told him don't. Plain and simple.
  10. scalper

    scalper Member

    All of us trapped in this wretched industry have a moral duty to stop anyone and everyone from entering into this death trap. Period.
  11. editorhoo

    editorhoo Member

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