Magazine article The Quill

Landing a Job in Today's Economy

Magazine article The Quill

Landing a Job in Today's Economy

Article excerpt

AS A JOURNALISM PROFESSOR WORKING IN TODAY'S ECONOMY, I worry about what to tell my bright-eyed, enthusiastic seniors who are about to graduate, looking for a job in the media and ready to use their degrees.

The optimistic Gene Ely, longtime journalist and editor and publisher of the online publication MediaLifeMagazine.com, said this is actually a time "exploding with opportunities" for our journalism graduates and others who are willing to think outside conventional media models.

"Break down all the traditional stuff," he said.

For instance, Ely recently hired a Southern Illinois University graduate who was required to read Ely's online publication for a class requirement. After the student graduated, the two started a conversation via e-mail and phone, and Ely hired him sight unseen. He still hasn't met him in person, but "he's doing a great job."

Ely would tell students to "live where you want, and do what you want."

Many members of the SPJ Journalism Education Committee were willing to share their advice and ideas with me - advice helpful not only for journalism students but for anyone looking for work in the media.

1 DON'T NARROWLY DEFINE YOURSELF

Ginny Whitehouse, an associate professor of communication studies at Whitworth University, said students should think "broad skill set." Ideally, students should be able to do public relations and online and video work, and know how to report and write.

2 BE AN ENTREPRENEUR

George Daniels, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Alabama, said instructors need to emphasize entrepreneurship efforts in every class. Students should consider what they are already producing or publishing, either for class or outside of class.

3 CONSIDER SMALLER ORGANIZATIONS

Elizabeth Hansen, professor of journalism at Eastern Kentucky University, said her program focuses on teaching community journalism.

"What we're finding is that the smaller papers aren't being hit as hard as the bigger ones," she said. …

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