I am trying to get into journalism and need some advice!!

Reply Fri 11 Apr, 2014 11:36 am
Hey people,
I graduated from UCSB with a double major in history and anthropology in early 2013 and I have spent the last year trying to figure what I want to do. While I was in school I wrote for the school newspaper for a year and was a intern reporter for an on-campus radio station. I have been trying to get a reporter position for the last several months to no avail. Do you guys have any tips or tricks that help get my foot in the door? I have been considering j school, is it worth it?? Any advice would help. Thanks!
Reply Fri 11 Apr, 2014 12:28 pm
Stick around, we have at least three people who post off and on who did newspaper and maybe some tv work. They might not see this right away.

I'll pm the ones I'm thinking of with your link. (PM is private message).
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Peter Frouman
Reply Fri 11 Apr, 2014 01:15 pm
Getting a job as a reporter these days is very difficult as you are competing against not only new grads but thousands of experienced journalists who have lost their jobs in recent years. Paper Cuts has some illuminating info on newspaper layoffs and buyouts. Print journalism is definitely on the decline but so is broadcast journalism. There are more job opportunities in public relations and public affairs but it sounds like you are more interested in the news reporting side of journalism.

If you are very persistent and patient and willing to work anywhere you should be able to find a job but should definitely be prepared for absurdly low pay and no job security. Your experience writing for a student newspaper and radio station definitely helps but may not be enough. Getting a journalism degree would help even more but I would not recommend it unless you are absolutely sure that is what you want to do. It's definitely not something that will guarantee you a job. You might want to try getting some freelance work to build your portfolio of published work. Getting freelance work is still difficult but probably easier than getting hired on full-time.

I have a degree in journalism (as well as a degree in history) but never really used it for anything other than wallpaper. I graduated long before the massive layoffs that would come in later years but even then the journalism job market was pretty bad. Only a tiny percentage of my journalism school classmates had real job offers at graduation. I remember one of them was really excited to have gotten a job at a LensCrafters store in the mall and another one who got a job offer at ESPN but then lost it due to a hiring freeze the month before graduation.
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2014 08:55 pm
I agree with everything the previous poster said.

Anything I can tell you about a career in journalism would be so badly dated it's hardly worth posting. I graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in English back in 1962. Since I did not want to go into teaching at that time and couldn't afford at the time to go on for a couple of more degrees, I got a job as a reporter on a relaticvely small suburbab daily, The (Quincy) Patriot-Ledger. The pay was abysmal but the job was fun. A year later I managed to wangle a job with United Press International, mostly on the srength of my expreience on the Patrot-Ledger. The pay was only marginally better but now, with the wires humming, the whole world was open to me. I spent about a year as bureau chief in the Concord, NH and Montpelier, Vt. bureaus before getting a transfer to world headquarters in New York City, the most expensive city in the world to live in, I believe. I stuck it out for a year before reurning to my roots in Boston and lucking into a job as news editor of a weekly trade publication for the hotel/restaurant industry in the Northeast. It soon led to promotion to managing editor and eventually I started a rival publication for said hotel/restuarant industry as editor and publisher.

If all this sounds pretty good, remember that I was damned near poverty level the whole time. That business just doesn't pay unless you get into broadcast journalism as an on-air personality and those opening are so rare they're snapped up by relatives and close family friends of the TV station owners.

Remember that I speak here of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. At that time my educational background was not particularly unique for one working in journalism. Few of my colleagues had majored in journalism and there was quite a goodly nuber of top-rated reporters who had never finished their BA degrees; some had little more than high school diplomas. Again, remember the historical period.

I think it's much harder now to get a foot in the door although the pay scale has not increased appreciably.

I chucked the whole thing at the age of 57 and went into teaching after all. More money, less hysteria, better working conditions. I retired from teaching (and just about everything else that's remunerative) at age 70 and for the past five years have been living the life of a happy pauper on the island of Hawaii. Still try and free-lance from time to time, but that's for fun rather than serious profit.

Best of luck to you, aPigNamedAlgie. But give it some hard thought before signing on the dotted line.

[PS --thnx to Ossobuco for alerting me to this thread! Smile]
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Reply Wed 16 Apr, 2014 01:49 pm
With (only) a BSJ and after participating in various offshoots of journ seven decades or so I can testify that in whatever route you become involved, be sure you really like it
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Joe Nation
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2014 02:22 am
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2014 06:25 pm
Here's another view, from Fbaezer, a mexico city journalist, writing re the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez -

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