By Holly Edgell | April 25th, 2012
Lynn Walsh is the Investigative Producer for WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is also the Chairwoman for SPJ’s Generation J Committee. You can get in touch with Lynn on Twitter @LWalsh and Lynn.K.Walsh@gmail.com.
It’s that magical moment in the life of the budding journalist: graduation and–soon after–one’s dream job. Well, perhaps not the dream job right away. That’s part of the reason behind this guest post. While many college journalists find it worthwhile to join SPJ on campus, they often may not realize how membership can help them in the real world. Thanks to Lynn for this timely contribution!
Graduation is right around the corner for many of you. That means you probably are not thinking about anything except for jobs, jobs, jobs. Some of you may have one, others may not.
When I was graduating I fell into the still-seeking category. Unless what you were talking about had to do with employment, I wasn’t interested. I was lucky and did find a part-time job and then a full-time position pretty soon after graduation. Still, looking back on my search I remember one thing that a mentor told me: be sure to join SPJ.
I was a member during my early years in college but then let the membership lapse. After hearing similar advice a few times and seeing the discounted rate for recent graduates ($37.50 a year for three years after graduation or three years for just $75) I decided to take their advice; it is definitely one of the better decisions I have made.
Well, I could start with the amazing contacts I have made or even all of the great story ideas and writing and investigating tips. I could mention help my many job searches or the recommendations written for me by SPJ members as I was trying to get back into the TV news business. I could also discuss the journalists who have become more than professional contacts over the years and have turned into mentors and friends.
I can genuinely say that SPJ has helped me obtain two of my post-college journalism positions. Events sponsored by SPJ have put me in contact with amazing training opportunities that have taught me more in 45-minute sessions than I learned in some 10-week college courses.
SPJ offers me a breath of fresh air every time I open my mailbox to find my Quill magazine filled with “Toolbox” articles. By the time I am done, it’s not much of a magazine because I have pulled almost all of the pages out to find more information about a topic and use the tools and resources mentioned.
Welcome to the real world
I have truly gotten more out of SPJ as a professional member than I did as a college member. That said, campus chapters offers a lot at the college level; maybe I probably was just not taking advantage of it at the time. Now that I am taking advantage of it, it is worth every penny.
Important tip! Once you graduate, keep SPJ posted on how to get in touch with you. You can update your SPJ profile OR email Linda Hall at headquarters: firstname.lastname@example.org
And there’s more!
- Find your nearest chapter
- Start a chapter
- Check out the SPJ Blogroll
- Join a committee
- Freelancer Resources
- Generation J