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: "Earlier this year, #adviceforyoungjournalists was a trending social media topic. If #adviceforveteranjournalists started trending today, what words would you share?"

A: I'm assuming most young journalists gave a collective cringe when #adviceforyoungjournalists blew up on Twitter. It's not easy to process, let alone adopt, the advice of hundreds of reporters from one blast--especially when certain pieces of advice seem to contradict each other.

The truth is there are many ways to achieve success as a journalist by your own definition. A lot has to do with your personality, where you choose to work, what you want or have to cover. I'd hope and assume most veteran journalists know that.

It does seem a bit silly for me to give advice if #adviceforveteranjournalists were to start trending. But if you're looking for a little pep in your step, here are three general tips: Embrace change. Whether that's where you live, how you publish or what you cover, the amount of opportunities out there gives reporting a kick you can't get with another job. It's why a lot of us joined the profession in the first place.

Remember that you are a human being with a unique point of view and bias. This gig demands a lot of you; take a step back and think of how you're treating yourself, your sources and your surroundings. You can express your genuine perspective and still create groundbreaking work.

Read and respond to comments on your stories. Sometimes the viewing public won't understand a certain point, and sometimes key information doesn't make it to the final cut of a story. The public needs your guidance. And there is a way to respectfully clarify points, or provide additional information, to even the most ruthless of online commenters.

Following these guidelines, especially as a knowledgeable veteran, can lead you to build a community of people who care about what is happening around them. That's the most important thing.

Miguel Otarola, 22 senior, Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)

Otarola is the editor-in-chief of Downtown Devil, a site covering downtown Phoenix news. He has previously worked as an intern with The Arizona Republic and The Seattle Times. Born in Chile and raised in Arizona, he has a large interest in covering minority, social and culture issues. …

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