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Posts Tagged ‘jobs’
06 Apr

Crowdsource: What was your first, paid journalism job?

For many that graduated college years ago, the fear that embraced them as the graduation date approached is, if lucky, a distant memory. But, as you know, there is a new wave of journalists about to join our industry… so, I’ve collected stories from journalists when starting out. Through a Google form, Twitter, email and comments, here’s the collection.


Responses via email:
Juana Summers
First gig after college: Missouri statehouse intern for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

First full-time job: Politics reporter for a now-defunct Kansas City website

Now: I cover campaigns and elections for POLITICO

Best advice: You can’t make a first-impression twice, so get it right the first time. Whenever you’re in a professional setting, be it a conference, meetup or internship, treat it as a job interview. You never know who you’ll meet along the road that will play a huge role in your career trajectory going forward.

Also, never stop learning and don’t be afraid of change or to look for jobs in unexpected places. We all dreamed that we’d graduate and land a plum reporting gig at the New York Times (or, well, I did), but that’s just not reality. There’s great meaningful work to be done in lots of newsrooms – large and small – and in fantastic startups nationwide.


Responses via comments:
Khadijah M. Britton
My first paid gig was actually when I was 15, writing a column for a biotech company’s internal newsletter. It took me, oh, ten years to land another gig that sweet! My first GROWN-UP paying job was writing for Healthcare Investment Digests (now OneMedPlace.com), though I’m pretty sure I was mostly being paid to establish relationships with companies so we could get their data. I couldn’t say anything negative about the companies. Getting paid has really been a corporate-world reality for me; I’ve never been paid to write anything I feel proud of as a writer. That’s the hard, cold truth, kids! :p

David Veselenak
Now working at my first “real” job, a part-time reporter and online coordinator for Heritage Media, which is a chain of weekly papers near Ann Arbor, Mich. Took me a while to find one, but was lucky in finding it: the lead came from a response of a tweet I sent out. You never know where jobs may pop up, even in economically-challenged Michigan.

Mai Hoang
I guess to add to my initial Twitter comments, not everyone has to end up at a big-city metro to “make it” or “to grow.” I have learned a lot in my five years at the Yakima Herald-Republic and there’s still plenty of things to learn. Likewise you may have the skills to start out at a big-city metro. Or perhaps you thrive best by going from job to job. It depends on what works for you not on some formula or “right way.”

And in addition, newbies should go outside of the newsroom for professional development. I’ve learned so much from my involvement with organizations like AAJA and SPJ and through online venues such as #wjchat (an online journalism Twitter chat). With all that’s out there, I think one would be hard pressed to not grow wherever they’re at.

Chris Boese
At age 16, I started as a sports stringer for The Frontiersman in Wasilla, Alaska, covering high school sports in the Matanuska Valley, while also playing some of those sports (including basketball, against you-know-who, who tells the world she was an aspiring sports reporter. While some people in Wasilla were supposedly dreaming of it, some of us were already doing it).

Some years later, out of J-school, I came back to The Frontiersman, under new management. At the time I was very disappointed in the assignments I was getting, because I got stuck with the Beauty Pageant beat for every podunk town and hamlet in the Valley (including you-know-who as a flute-playing competitor).

I couldn’t take the coming darkness of winter and the isolation of Alaska, after so many years in the light, so I took off for parts South, where I happened to land photojournalism jobs at various publications and newspapers in Northwest Arkansas. I often found myself shooting events with state notables, including the genial governor and his very ambitious and activist wife…

In the end, I had to leave there too, because Reagan deregulated media ownership rules and venerable newspapers all around me were merging or shutting down, laying off my colleagues by the thousands.

Center-spread double-truck photo essays and feature stories, my stock in trade, disappeared overnight with the cookie-cutter layouts and short stories of the USAToday template-driven approach to newspapering. I saw my best work being reduced from the size of dinner plates in the Daily Fishwrap to the size of postage stamps.

Plus, nothing would ever happen in podunk Alaska or Arkansas. Why would anyone want to stay there? ;-)

Clay Duda
With no real emphasis on social media in my undergrad study I lucked into a part-time Social Media Strategist job with a journalism foundation. It took about 2 1/2 months to land something after my graduation in May 2010, but since then it’s evolved into a full-time position with more of an emphasis on multimedia production for some of the publications under our umbrella. If you would have asked me a year ago I could have never of guessed I’d be in such a position, but as the industry changes so must the industried.

Andy Boyle
First gig after college: Intern at the St. Petersburg Times

First full-time job: Reporter/News Technologist at the St. Petersburg Times

Now: I work on servers, blogs and help build interactive apps for a chain of papers at The New York Times Regional Media Group.

Best advice: They won’t hire you if you have the same skills as everyone else. I differentiated myself by attempting to learn more about building online projects. That doesn’t mean “Hey I can shoot video and record audio.” Everyone has those skills. Not everyone knows how to set up a server, do SQL queries or code for a production environment. If you can prove to your bosses that you have skills that set you apart from the influx of cheap labor, they may employ you. You could also do what I did: Get another job offer halfway through your internship, which pushed the St. Pete Times to hire me.

Everyone can be taught to be a reporter. Everyone can be taught to be a better writer. But not everyone can be taught how to build truly web-oriented projects. Only you can teach yourself that, with some help from the journalism community, of course. And don’t be shy about thinking your skills are worth value. Basic economics: If you have skills that not many have, and people are looking for those skills, your value goes up. So, make your value go up.

Emma Carew
Job info: in the tweets above.

My best advice: Say yes more than you say no: say yes when a reporter offers to take you out to lunch, say yes when the editor-who-isn’t-your-editor asks you to pick up an extra assignment, say yes to working the holiday shift during an internship, say yes to applying to jobs you never expected to get, say yes to a shift on the copy desk or a night cops shift, say yes to working with photographers or videographers.

Say no to working without being paid a liveable wage.


Responses via Google form:
I asked colleagues to talk about their first journalism jobs to help recent graduates as they begin their careers in the journalism. Here is a collection

Metro reporter, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. I covered education, but also sometimes cops and courts. I also covered a public execution at this job.


I wrote 5-7 stories a week about a rural part of Kansas City. It paid about 25,000 a year. After a year, they gave us a “raise” to 28K. No one stayed there past 1.5 years, even though it was a 2-year fellowship. I got a great backbone, but I almost burned out. Plus, I ate way tooo much spaghetti.


Working for a five day a week newspaper, The Angleton Times, with a circulation of 5,000. I made $200 a week in 1987. I worked as a bartender at night to make enough to pay the rent, for groceries and car repair bills. I did everything from taking photos to laying out the paper. I gained so many skills and I made so many mistakes at that small paper. But I tell aspiring journalists to start small and make your big mistakes in small places. If you make big mistakes in big places, it’s a lot more painful.


Page designer – straight out of college. Worked there for two years. No copy editing or headline writing. That was done by a different department. That has all changed and designers now edit copy/write headlines, proof pages, etc. And sometimes a lot more than that, too. We used to also have specialties, like sports or features. It’s a one-size-fits-all now.


I produced podcasts for The New Yorker.


Entry level online producer at the Hartford Courant. (Assistant Online Producer)


I started working at the paper I’m at now as a news assistant. It was a lot of grunt work but I made it very clear to the editors I wanted to be a writer. Two days after I started I was given an assignment and now I’m an education reporter.


State copydesk, taking the adjectives out of school lunch menus (“fresh green salad” = “salad”).


My first professional, paid journalism job after graduating college was a 5-month contract position doing research for a well-known business trade magazine. I got the position because of a professor that I did an assistantship with in graduate school who happened to be a former executive editor at another publication for the company. She knew they were looking for someone and she recommended me. That job led directly to a full-time position within the same company at another business trade mag that was the no. 1 publication worldwide covering that business trade.


Capital News 9 in Albany. One man band station. (I think they now are called Your News Now).


I talked my way into a job as an assignment editor at the Telemundo station in Miami.


I was taken on as a contractor doing web production for DenverPost.com while a junior in college. After graduation, I was hired full time. It has actually been my only paid work as a journalist, though I have done several paid and unpaid internships and some freelance work.


Town hall and health reporter for the Beaufort Gazette in Beaufort, South Carolina (circ. 12,000).


Contributor to the now folded Georgia Guardian writing pieces on urban affairs and revitalization efforts.


My first “real” newspaper job was copy editing and designing pages at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi. After three months, I became a producer/developer/designer/fixer-of-things for the paper’s website.


Reporter copy editor at Lexington Herald-Leader. John Carroll era.


General assignment/night cops reporter for 12K-circulation local newspaper


Staff writer for Midwest Real Estate News, a trade magazine in Chicago. Also, I never had an internship, for what it’s worth. Went straight into the job market in 2004. Was unemployed for 7 months before landing my first gig, though.


Copy editing and design at a smallish newspaper.


Staff reporter covering education/courts/cops/features and monthly columnist (outdoor adventure themed) at the Jackson Hole News&Guide in Jackson, Wyoming.


I started out as a casual reporter on a weekly community newspaper. I mostly wrote arts & lifestyle pieces. I landed the paid gig after completing an internship at the publication.


Writing for the technology section of a major newspaper


newspaper reporter at a small daily


I was an editor with the weekly community sections published by The Dallas Morning News. It was kind of life being in a small town paper, having to do everything for my sections — write, edit, blog, tweet, photograph, proof, content development, etc.


Freelance stories for a regional biz newsweekly.


copy editor at a small daily paper


Just got it! I’m the mobile/search/social producer for azcentral.com. I work 6a-3p M-F, managing the Facebook and Twitter accounts and helping our journalists with personal branding and social media education.


It was while I was in school. Clerk job at local paper.


editorial assistant for data and research at The Chronicle of Philanthropy


Job at The St. Ignace News. General assignment reporter.


I was a reporter at the Employment & Training Reporter, a weekly newsletter published by BNA in Washington, D.C. ETR covered employment and training programs for disadvantaged, chronically unemployed and laid-off workers.


copy editing on the Universal Desk at the Dallas Morning News


Well, it’s happening right now. I work for Sun Newspapers (@sunnewspapers) – a chain of 11 weekly community newspapers around Cleveland. I scored this gig (in my hometown, no less) five months out of college (Ohio University).


The job I have now. Associate producer for MassLive.com.


Neighborhood reporter, St. Petersburg Times


Reporter/Photojournalist at a 150th market TV station in North Carolina.


Research librarian at The Palm Beach Post


Responses via Twitter:

22 Dec

It’s not your imagination, there are more journalism jobs

Comments off

NOTE: Originally ran on Online Journalism Review: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/webjournalist/201012/1923/

Have you been noticing more posts and tweets for journalism jobs lately? Me too.

But to make sure it wasn’t the spiked eggnog that was making me feel more positive about the journalism industry’s financial state, I shot a quick email to the folks at JournalismJobs.com.

They immediately responded, confirming “jobs are up overall over the past 15-18 months.”

Well, not to sound cynical, but nearly EVERYTHING is up when you compare it to a year and a half ago.

“At our lowest point, we fell to 650 or so job listings in mid-2009,” added Dan Rohn, founder of the site, when I asked for more information. “We have a little more than 880 total listings now. That’s about a 25 percent increase over the past 15 months.”

He also said that at the site’s peak in 2007, they had about 1,200 job listings, not including include 150 internship posts.

Eric Wee, president of JournalismNext.com, also confirms an increase.

“We have been seeing an increase in postings in the last 6-8 months,” he said. “It seems to be pointing to some sort of recovery and even expansion (online) in the media world.”

Jobs listings are also up at Online News Association‘s Career Center as well, according to ONA Web Editor Sean Connolly.

The listings have doubled when you compare the first half of 2010 to the second. And, naturally, nearly doubled year over year.

Yes, there are still many of us looking for work. Yes, furloughs are still part of our realities. And, yes, we’re all still underpaid.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… we’ve got a ways to go. But you can’t deny that this is a positive trend and potentially a sign of growth and rebuilding.

Let’s celebrate with some spiked eggnog, shall we?

Categories: Journalism, OJR Tags: ,
08 Feb

Wanted: Required Web journalism skills

NOTE: This piece is also running on OJR: The Online Journalism Review

With our industry in such turmoil, the constant technological changes, the evolution of news consumers and the uncertainty of the future, the question on the minds of veteran and aspiring journalists alike is what skills do I need to stay relevant, employed and innovative.

That’s the number one question I have gotten over the years. (That and equipment recommendations.)

Everyone has an answer.

There have been pieces written recently saying journalists need to become programmers. Debates over how important Flash is to a reporter. I even remember speakers coming to my class when I was in college advising photographers to look for other careers because still photography, they incorrectly predicted, was dead.

Um, they are pretty much all wrong, in my humble-yet-cocky-sounding opinion.

“So, smart guy, what’s your genius answer,” you ask. Well, it’s the same one I gave some ten years ago.

Know journalism.

The top skills required for a Web journalist are solid news judgment, strong ethics, thrive under deadline, accuracy and a mastery of the AP Stylebook. Other skills I include are knowledge of HTML, experience with CMS, working understanding of SEO, being social in Social media and the willingness to try new technologies.

Plus, the ability to tell stories in all media: text, photos, audio, video and the combination. At the very least, know and respect each of these crafts and how they are used on the Web.

But again, the most important skill is journalism, not the latest technology.

While I’ve been preaching this for a while, some people don’t agree.

So, I did a test.

I took nearly two-dozen New Media job postings from journalismjobs.com and compiled a list of skills they were looking for… then I ran the list through Wordle to visualize the top requirements.

I’ll let the image speak for itself.

If you must know, here are the skills I collected:
HTML, Mac, PC, AP style, news judgment, copy editing, headline editing, organized, interact with online readers and newspaper staff, multitask on deadline, video and audio editing, improve site traffic trends, OAS, posting information, wire copy, photos, HTML, CSS, sports fan, Copy editing, headline writing, nights, holidays, weekends, accuracy, attention to detail, problem solving, Photoshop, deadlines, optimization, innovative editor, search engines, social networks, headline writing, Financial news editing experience, multimedia approach to Web content, video, graphics, photos, polls, social networking media, Four year college degree, TV/Web production, journalism, new media, Final Cut pro, Adobe Photoshop, Basic script and package writing skills, strong editorial judgment, strong time management skills, work independently, tight deadline, detail oriented, live and on-demand video production, think like a producer, editor, and writer, basic video editing, program production, edit raw video, headlines and descriptions, leadership, web based experience, multiple media, print headline writing and editing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage and style, multitasking, news judgment, accuracy, news on the Internet, news wires, coordinate assignment and development of stories, video and interactive, accuracy, timeliness, balance, comprehensiveness, multimedia, Traditional journalism skills, move beyond text to tell stories interactively, team player, design experience a plus, desktop computer applications, editorial content from television and print, accurate, collaborate with editors, write copy, create compelling headlines and captions, organize multimedia and make sound news judgments, strong news judgment, blogosphere, passion for sports, flexible, quick-thinking, energetic, efficient, and able to work independently under pressure, attention to detail, crafting clever headlines and tease copy, choosing and cropping appropriate images, packaging, editing, writing for the Web, headline writing, image selection, and content packaging skills, AP Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style, work quickly, breaking news, deadline pressure, Basic HTML, Photoshop, online publishing tools, news judgment, blogosphere, flexible, quick-thinking, energetic, efficient, crafting clever headlines and tease copy, choosing and cropping appropriate images, packaging, editing, and writing for the Web, headline writing, image selection, and content packaging skills, AP Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style, HTML, Photoshop, online publishing tools, technology experience and connections, IT reporting, editing experience, sharp writing, editing, write SEO-friendly content, tease text, HTML, write quickly, breaking news, technology reporting and editing, editing stories, news writing, interviewing, computers, word processing, news judgment, editorial, creative skills, journalistic ethics, libel laws, write clearly, AP writing style, TV camera operator, video editor, Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro, news judgment, social media, Twitter, Facebook, aggressive, hard-working editor, multi-media reporting, social media, communication, organizational, multitask, multimedia production, editorial experience in print, online or broadcast, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal, under pressure, tight deadlines, problem solve, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, WordPress, content management systems, write, produce and post content, news editorial, AP style, Accuracy, Deadline-oriented, organized, multi-tasking, I-News, HTML, Adobe Photoshop, nonlinear editing, writing skills, editorial skills, attention to detail, writing and editing online copy, project management, social media, HTML, search-engine optimization, e-commerce, web analytics, basic programming, mobile, RSS, audio podcasts, video, writing, editing, and proofreading, Chicago Manual of Style, deadline pressure, Microsoft Office, writing, capturing visual content and editing stories, Videography, non-linear editing, Final Cut Pro, AP style, deadline, Lift up to 50 lbs.

If you want to check it out, here are the postings:
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1148011
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147856
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147846
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147737
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147522
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147535
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147497
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1136912
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1113672
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1134208
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147267
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147236
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147155
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147127
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147056
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147032
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1147017
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1146274
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1145926
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1144661
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1144661
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1144610
http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1144331

As a bonus, I created a Wordle based on the titles:
Online Content Manager, Editor, Search Editor, Business/Financial News Editor, Associate Producer of Video, Health Producer, Senior Editor for News, Sports Programmer, Personal Finance Programmer, Business/Technology Web Editor, Reporter, Combat Sports Reporter, Home and Garden Article Writers, TV ‘shoot-edit’ & web videographer, News Social Media Editor, Editor, Enterprising Legal Reporter, Interactive Managing Editor, Website Content Producer, Web Content Producer, Digital-Media Director, Multi-Media Journalist

What skills do you think are the most important for Web journalists?

Categories: Journalism Tags: , ,
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