By Lynn Walsh | December 4th, 2011
By: Lynn Walsh
Like most print reporters, covering all things health and education in Moses Lake, Washington means more than just interviewing sources and meeting deadlines. For Steven Wyble it also means taking pictures and being responsible for knowing the latest news related to the county health district, area hospitals and schools for the Columbia Basin Herald, a newspaper published Monday through Friday.
Wyble is the Society of Professional Journalists Generation J “Feature on the Fifth” profile journalist for December and took some time to answer a few questions about his job, the news industry and social media.
Q: How did you get into the position?
I found the job listed online and applied. I had applied to dozens of other papers and had a few interviews, but no job offers. The editor of the Herald e-mailed me a few days after I submitted my resume and set up a phone interview. After the first interview the publisher set up a second interview and included the publisher. A few days later the publisher called back to offer me the job and I accepted.
Q: You recently joining SPJ. How are you hoping SPJ will help you professionally?
What I’m looking forward to exploring when I have time are the training resources at www.spj.org. While I learned a lot at my university, and am learning even more with my current job, I don’t think there’s anything more conducive to advancing one’s career than constantly pursuing new education and training opportunities.
Q: What is your biggest challenge as a young person in this industry? How do you work to overcome it?
My biggest challenge was a lack of professional experience. I think most people learn best by repeatedly practicing a skill, and while I contributed to several student newspapers, I didn’t get as much journalism experience as I would have liked before I graduated.
That lack of experience hindered my job search. After I interviewed at one paper, the editor called to tell me I didn’t the job. I was his second choice, he said, and he’d chosen the other guy because he had more experience.
He suggested I contribute to small community newspapers to build my portfolio, so that’s what I did. I emailed a bunch of editors and told them I was a recent journalism school graduate and that I would like to contribute to their paper. Only one editor replied, and I only ended up contributing three stories. But it was enough to diversify my portfolio a bit and expand my list of professional references. I think that additional experience helped me land the job I have now.