Archive for the ‘Student Press’ Category

For Young Journos: How to ‘not fail at journalism’ job finding

Finding a job as a new journalist isn’t easy. You may have to give up your money dreams, location dreams, beat dreams, news medium dreams — basically you might have to give up on all of your dreams, except for the being a journalist one.

So in order to help journalists find a job covering county fairs in the middle of nowhere for right about the poverty line salary, or a job as the next editor of the New York Times, we turned to Kenna Griffin for a #youngjournojobs Twitter chat. She gave tons of amazing advice, but her Twitter typing fingers could only type so fast. So, the assistant professor of Mass Communications at Oklahoma City University, graciously answered some bonus job-seeking questions for me.

Thanks Kenna for all of your hard work helping J-students!

Kenna Griffin Mug

Kenna Griffin

What are the best three websites to find journo jobs?

The best sites for media jobs depend on the type of job you’re seeking. You probably know that I post a list of media jobs on my website, every Monday and a list of internships every Friday. But, also, I recommend looking at local journalism organizations’ sites to see if they have job boards. They tend to be more informed than national sites. Journalism Jobs is a good site to look at if you just want to know what’s “out there.” LinkedIn is always a good resource for job-related things.

Is it better to have an online resume, paper or both? Why?

It’s better to have both. This gives you more methods of distributing your information and displays your multimedia mindset. It’s best to have your materials available in whatever format the potential employer desires.

What are the top three qualities news orgs are looking for in the young generation of journos?

News organizations are looking for professionalism, strong foundational skills in writing and reporting and an understanding of multimedia tools with a willingness to adapt to change.

How should young journos go about promoting themselves/their work?

Young journalists should have professional online presences (perhaps including a blog) that they use to display their work and understanding of the industry. They should participate in online discussion groups and Twitter chats related to the industry. They also should attend professional organizations’ networking events in the community in which they live. Establishing themselves as professionals and becoming known is key to establishing a strong career future. And, of course, they should work for student media and take internships for as many clips and professional experiences as possible.

Journos and fashion don’t always mix. What guidelines would you suggest for interviews?

Dress in business attire. Invest in a basic black or navy suit and dress shoes. You can always adapt to a more casual workplace, but it’s tough to undo a negative first impression. A special note from me: Flip flops are never appropriate work attire.

Should writing clips be paper or digital? Best organization of clips?

As I said above about resumes, have both. That way, you can send them in advance or guide a potential employer to your resume site. However, take a portfolio with you to every interview. Also, take a pen and paper. Nothing says “I fail at journalism” like not being prepared to take notes.

If networking=jobs, how do young journos go about networking efficiently?

Join professional organizations. Almost all of them have reasonable student rates. Many of them have local and campus chapters. If so, join both. Get to know as many people as you can in the industry. Attend every professional conference your journalism school provides. Attend dressed up and ready to network. Also, I’ve met so many amazing people through Twitter chats. Twitter has become one of my favorite networking tools. I highly recommend that students participate in some of these chats.

If young journos only have time to market one skill to potential employers, what should they focus on?

Adaptability. Our industry is changing in ways many of us never imagined. Students have to show that they have the basic skills they need now and a willingness to learn whatever storytelling tools the future presents.

Taylor Carlier Headshot

Taylor Carlier | Photo credit: Matt Thomas

Taylor Carlier is the communications coordinator at the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a 2014 Purdue University graduate of Mass Communication: Journalism and previously was the special projects editor at The Exponent. She can be reached at or interact on Twitter: @Taylorcarlier.

Giving thanks to teachers (aka in memoriam to Beth Wood)

It’s a day after Thanksgiving – but I can still give thanks, right?

As if teachers weren’t already underappreciated, I wonder how little thanks students give to those teachers who truly care. The ones that will stick out their necks. The ones that will help students personally and professionally.

For me that was Beth Wood, a journalism instructor at Indiana University. I technically didn’t have her for a journalism class, but rather PR for nonprofits. It was one of the most practically useful classes I took in graduate school. It also led to my job at SPJ.

For the class, fellow students and I designed a strategic communications and marketing plan for a local nonprofit organization. The all volunteer-run group was thankful for any help they could get. I was thankful I’d taken the class from Beth.

Post-graduation, I was working briefly producing and researching podcasts for a university research institution. Beth knew I was looking for a full-time job. She heard about a communications position at SPJ and practically made me apply. She helped polish my resume and offered useful feedback on a sample policy-oriented press release I wrote for the application.

I guess it worked, and here I sit a year and a half later, now as editor of Quill magazine. She was nice enough to invite me back last school year to speak to her undergraduate class.

Beth died Nov. 14 after a long battle with lung cancer. She’d taught class the week before. Her death was sudden and shocking to me and, I’m sure, her students, colleagues, family and friends.

Beth Wood, IU journalism instructor

Beth Wood, IU journalism instructor

Even more shocking was that I realized I’d never fully thanked Beth for her help, not only with career assistance but as a dedicated, thoughtful and selfless instructor. I know I wrote her an e-mail or two, updating her on my “life” and expressing gratitude for her help. But I can’t help but wonder: Was it enough?

Probably not.

I left the following comments in a news piece about Beth’s death on the IU School of Journalism Web site:

“Professor Wood was undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and engaging professors I’ve ever encountered. Taking a practical, not theoretical, approach to instruction, she gave students what they need: real-world lessons on how to do their jobs. She made students want to come to class – and she treated them as equals, especially at the graduate level, and always valued every student’s input. On a personal level, she guided me and gave me much-welcomed career advice – and even helped me land a job after graduation. For her helpfulness on a professional level, I am forever thankful. For her openness, honesty, sincerity, welcoming and amazingly bright personality, I will always cherish our interactions. She will be missed, not only by me and her former students, but by all who will never have the chance to take a class from the incredible Beth Wood.”

Lesson learned.

To students and young journalists: You have skills, and don’t underestimate those skills and their ability to advance your career. But there are people who help you at every step of the way. An instructor. An editor. A parent. An adviser. A mentor. A friend. Take time to properly thank the people in your life who have gone above and beyond on your behalf.

To teachers and all those who help students: Thank you! You’re appreciated, even if we young bucks don’t show it.

To Beth: You’re wonderful and a gift to all students. You will be sorely missed. Thank you.

Tip o’ the hat: SPLC turns 35

The non-profit Student Press Law Center is celebrating 35 years protecting the First Amendment rights of young journalists. And we here at SPJ headquarters – celebrating our centennial this year – wish all the best to SPLC and its cadre of volunteer lawyers, hardworking student interns, and, of course, ever-busy executive director Frank LoMonte.

SPLC sent a “party invitation” to recognize the occasion. There’s no physical party to attend – just a nicely designed campaign e-mail (and an ever-so-subtle suggestion to donate $35 … get it?).

One issue SPLC has been particularly in front of is opposition to FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The 35-year-old law is facing renewed scrutiny after a recent Columbus Dispatch investigation revealed universities arbitrarily and erroneously using the law to block public records. SPJ’s Quill magazine covered the controversy in the Sept/Oct 2009 issue, and SPLC’s Frank LoMonte was a crucial source. He provided some great tips for student journalists to overcome FERPA hurdles at their universities.

So, congratulations to SPLC on 35 years of defending the rights of the student press. Here’s to many more.


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