Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Critical Thinking: J-School Students and Industry Vets Tackle the Tough Questions

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Critical Thinking: J-School Students and Industry Vets Tackle the Tough Questions

Article excerpt

Q: In today's depressed economy, how can publishers improve morale in the workplace and keep staff motivated and happy?

A: When I filled out my college applications three years ago, I wrote that I wanted to go to medical school, but all of that quickly changed when I began writing for The Diamondback, the University of Maryland's independent student newspaper. I was hooked. Journalism was my passion, and I was going to pursue that career no matter what it took.

It may not be the highest paying field, but no journalist goes into this because of a fat paycheck. It may sound cliche, but that's because it's true: Becoming a journalist is about seeking the truth and working toward informing the public, even at the risk of upsetting some. And in a world where everything seems to be driven by generating as much revenue as possible, the seeking-truth mentality seems to get lost.

As college students, we have hundreds of job possibilities, but it essentially boils down to two options: We can pick a career we're passionate about that may not provide us with tons of spending money, or we can pursue something that will almost guarantee us a solid paycheck. Anyone pursuing a career in the writing or publishing industry almost certainly picked the first option.

Working in today's economy is no simple task. We're constantly in a state of panic, it seems, and there's always impending doom.

It's easy for publishers to get caught up in how to simply stay afloat. While it's certainly important, staff members need to remember why they wanted to enter the industry in the first place: because of the adrenaline behind every story and the assurance that their work is meaningful.

Maybe publishers can't afford to give their staff members bonuses or other expensive perks as an incentive to continue working hard. But if employers truly hired the right people, striving to accomplish the ultimate goal of any publishing business--working to inform the public, increasing transparency, and holding people accountable--should be enough.

Yasmeen Abutaleb, 20, junior, University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)

Abutaleb is a journalism and microbiology major as well as editor-in-chief of The Diamondback, the university's award-winning independent student daily newspaper. She also served as a business reporting intern for USA Today this past summer.

A: Our business challenges today require top talent. …

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