|Timestamp||What was your first professional, paid journalism job after graduating college?||What are the top three skills you think journalists need to get a job now?||Give a one-word tip to aspiring journos trying to land a gig.||What is the *key* to getting a journalism job?||Your full name and Twitter handle|
|4/20/2011 16:53:46||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.||1) Persistence|
2) Mad multimedia skills
3) Most importantly -- excellent writing and reporting skills and the zeal of a bloodhound.
|Persistence||Network! Persistence and optimism are key. Don't settle for a "news" site that pays you a mere $25-$50 for poorly-reported 500-word pieces.|
|4/20/2011 16:55:05||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 almsot burned out. Plus, I ate way tooo much spaghetti.||- connections (We have our jobs listed, but most hires come from someone saying "I know them")|
- adaptability (We don't hire for specific skills, but the willingness to learn new ones)
- energy (be an agent of change, convince me you have the energy to push others)
|network||You have to have built some sort of presence online. If you don't have a web site or a twitter account, I'm less inclined to hire.|
|4/20/2011 17:09:08||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.||You need to be digital do it alls. The more skills you can bring to the job, the more likely you are to get it.|
That means learn how to code - basic stuff like HTML and blogging.
You've also got to be willing to write stories, take photos, blog, make videos and try out new tools.
But make sure to subscribe to Poynter and constantly work on improving your writing. You've got to have the basic story telling skills to succeed. Make sure to buy Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
|Persevere||Be humble. If you get to a traditional newspaper, the crusty old editors will feel threatened if they're not on abroad with the new digital landscape. |
To get a job, apply to lots of news outlets, not just your dream workplace. Start small and work your way up from there. Also, make connections through social media sites, but more importantly show up at major journalism conferences like Investigative Reporters and Editors and sign up for mentoring programs. That allows you to make connections with established journalists. Good luck!
|4/20/2011 17:10:45||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.||1. Good journalism - know how to report. Know how to ask the right questions. Know how to pick up on what's not being said. Know how to use multiple sources. Know your AP style. Know how to craft a meaty and compelling story - just be able to tell it in fewer words.|
2. Social media - know how to use Facebook & Twitter, etc., for reporting, crowdsourcing, etc.
3. Multimedia/technology - Even if you don't know much about it, learn the basics of shooting video, html, photo editing, etc.
|flexibility||Good journalism still is key, but being well-rounded/well-versed in non-conventional ways of communicating that journalism is vital.|
|4/20/2011 17:11:45||I produced podcasts for The New Yorker.||- Willingness and resources to start at the bottom with an unpaid internship or very poorly paid assistant gig|
- Bullshitting abilities (resume, website, etc -- fake it 'til you make it)
- Some developing/design skills in the mix, apart from reporting
|Insist||Damned if I know. It was hard enough for me when I entered the fray. Can't imagine starting out now. |
|4/20/2011 17:28:21||Entry level online producer at the Hartford Courant. (Assistant Online Producer)||1. Post text, images and video to a web based CMS. WordPress, Blogger or really anything else.|
2. Ability to connect and interact with readers/viewers face-to-face as well as through social media
3. Accurate, concise and clean writing and reporting
|Engagement||A willingness to question and push traditional journalism practices while still being willing to work your way up and learn from veteran journalist |
|4/20/2011 17:40:19||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.||Know the different types of technology that are out there and know how to use it.|
You have no idea how much patience you'll need for this job, it really is a skill that not a lot of people have.
Honesty is a must, and not only will it help you get information it will, over time have sources begging you to write stories because they trust you.
|versatile||Don't be picky on who you want to write for - the reality is we all won't land a job with the Huffington Post the first day after graduation. That said, don't limit yourself to specific print publications or web publications you never know how they will make you grow as a writer.|
|4/20/2011 17:44:20||State copydesk, taking the adjectives out of school lunch menus ("fresh green salad" = "salad").||Assembling a portfolio of original stories that the hiring editor wishes she or he had first. |
Ability to edit copy -- your own or someone else's -- when someone says "cut this in half, but don't lose anything important."
Matching the tool to the job: text, audio, video, linkage
|read||Recommendations from people who have been blown away by your portfolio -- and can testify that you did it yourself.|
|4/20/2011 18:22:30||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.||core writing/editing skills, digital savvy, knowledge of backpack journalism tools and how to use them||Network||Having a solid education and well-rounded experience before you get to the job market is key. Do as many internships as you possibly can because writing at your college newspaper or working for your college TV/radio station is NOT enough these days. The market is incredibly competitive. Know also that being a journalist means you NEVER stop learning. You need to always know a little something about everything to be at the top of your game. Even the best journalists still take some kind of classes or seminars to build their skills constantly.|
|4/20/2011 18:23:08||Capital News 9 in Albany. One man band station. (I think they now are called Your News Now).||1. Social Media skills are so very important. Not stressed enough in school.|
2. Be able to shoot, edit, and WRITE! They want you to do it all.
3. Care about what you report. Come to the table with ideas. Your a journalist to tell the world about important things, not to just be on camera.
|Genuine||Know the territory. Don't go into a job interview without doing research on the town/state/station/newspaper. The more you know the better off you will be. Don't be cocky, be genuine.|
|4/20/2011 20:26:07||I talked my way into a job as an assignment editor at the Telemundo station in Miami.||I would modify the question to, "What are the top three skills a rookie journalist need to get a job now?|
1) Know how to talk to sources on the telephone
2) Know how to listen and I mean truly listen
3) Know how to strike up a conversation with strangers and older colleagues
|Listen||The key is to get in the door. I don't care if it's a tiny weekly in Nowheresville. Just get that first job. The rest will follow.|
|4/20/2011 20:30:41||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.||1) New media savvy -- not necessary all areas, or expert in any one; like journalists for decades, it will serve you best to be moderately versed in a wide variety of things. You should be just enough of a geek to tweet or Facebook your things, maintain a website or blog if desired, understand SEO value and the differences between online and in-print news consumption and audiences, at the very least.|
2) Traditional skills -- don't think your social media expertise or wildly-popular Hipstamatic photos will get you anywhere; AP style, strong English as both a writer and editor, research and fact-checking skills, and news judgment will make you stand out (you'd be surprised how many people doze through reporting 101 and 202 in favor of their multimedia courses, or what-have-you). For photographers, be ready to branch into video (and for videographers, into stills), but above all, hone your craft. Just because we need to be more than the journos graduating 30 years ago doesn't mean we can get by with any gaps in the skills they were taught.
3) Motivation and dedication -- It's not news that you won't make it if you're just trying to surf through life, but as the news industry becomes more competitive and more selective, and as margins become razor-thin and content creation more consolidated (and aggregation more mainstream), it's more true than ever that you'll have to be relentless, innovative and engaging in order to survive in this crowded pool.
|inclusivity||There is no one "key" to getting a journalism job, really. It's going to take a combination of the right studies, doing well at one or more internships, and selling yourself through your work. Develop your journalistic presence online and in print at every opportunity. When you're not working on an assignment, study your craft and your favorite beats and keep working on your presence. Twitter account, Tumblr, Wordpress blog, photos, videos, Facebook are all important. Some will tell you not to accept unpaid internships or do charity/non-profit work, but everything you do that adds clips and experience, especially when you're just starting out, is adding value to your product -- yourself and your skill as a journalism. If you think of journalists as knives, you can see there are many different materials and tip shapes, many different quality and design factors, but the common thread is that all are useless without a finely-honed edge. Regardless your beat, skills, or expertise, they will only serve you well when they are honed and maintained. Editors and other journos can tell a sharp blade from a dull one, and keeping your edge keen is what will get you your start and keep you employed.|
|4/20/2011 22:12:58||Town hall and health reporter for the Beaufort Gazette in Beaufort, South Carolina (circ. 12,000).||Tech savvy - every day in my job I use Twitter, Google alerts, blog, smart phone pics, online records, Excel, DocumentCloud, etc.|
Public records - get a solid understanding of the laws in your state regarding public access to records, ask for them often, keep detailed records of what you request and when you get it, and fight hard against denials.
Attitude - everyone is doing more with less these days, you'll be expected to work hard and fast and to do so with little hand-holding. You need to show a positive, enterprising, tenacious and competitive attitude.
|Tenacity||Know the right people - networking is huge. Go to job fairs and journalism conferences, make appointments to see editors or reporters anytime you go on vacation, ask friends to introduce you, and keep in touch when you meet someone. I once met an LA Times editor sitting next to me at the theater, I got an internship after keeping in touch even after I was rejected once, I got another internship by sitting in the lobby from 9 am to 2 pm asking to see the editor.|
Clips - get as many as possible, even if you're writing for the tiny publication in your hometown on Christmas break.
Apply widely - Be willing to move anywhere from Anchorage to Atlanta and send out as many applications as possible. But try to tailor each of them by learning something about each of the places, publications and positions you apply to.
|4/21/2011 7:22:18||Contributor to the now folded Georgia Guardian writing pieces on urban affairs and revitalization efforts.||Ability to edit short audio and video pieces|
The ability to network and make connections
The ability to self-edit
|Persistence||The key is not selling yourself short while also being willing to learn from each experience.|
|4/21/2011 17:31:42||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.||I don't know if these are "skills" but this is what I would recommend:|
1. Keep learning, anything you can. Reach out to those whom you admire or who are smarter (or not) than you for advice or direction.
2. Diversify your skills and regularly . Don't just be a reporter or just a copy editor. Take some photos. Blog. Tweet. Blah, blah, blah. But, also, read the news. (It's shocking how many young journalists I know can talk endlessly about the latest tools but aren't caught up on what's happening in the world.)
3. Don't blindly accept the "this is how we do things" attitude at your organization. Think of ways to provide better coverage or better engage your community. Speak up.
|Experiment||There's no key; just do a good job. You don't need to work at a news organization to be a journalist.|
|4/22/2011 11:37:54||Reporter copy editor at Lexington Herald-Leader. John Carroll era.||Read, Write, Curiosity|
Data sort, analyze competency.
|Hustle.||Learning expectations and exceeding them on a "best practices" level. Sheer hustle. Ability to enter the priesthood. (and I am a "F").|
|4/22/2011 11:39:17||General assignment/night cops reporter for 12K-circulation local newspaper||News judgment|
|4/22/2011 11:49:40||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.||1. Web-first mentality|
2. "Whole package" skillset — exposure to reporting, editing, web publishing, page design and digital photography
3. Have a well-developed web presence that potential employers can snoop around and find. Make sure your name offers strong search results. Google your name regularly to see how you're trending (no kidding). Start a personal blog to keep your name out there.
|Move||Right place at the right time, no question about it.|
|4/22/2011 12:19:38||Copy editing and design at a smallish newspaper.||Flexibility|
|Persistence!||Be confident, bull-headed, and really, really good at what you do.|
|4/22/2011 13:43:39||Staff reporter covering education/courts/cops/features and monthly columnist (outdoor adventure themed) at the Jackson Hole News&Guide in Jackson, Wyoming.||No fear of old-fashioned phone calling.|
Good writer (also, an "old-fashioned" skill).
|Breathe||Not giving up after 97 rejections.|
Thinking before you apply: How (and where) do you want to spend your days? Why do you want to be a journalist? What does "journalism" mean to you?
Answer these questions for yourself before applying for a job.
Then, you can figure out if you want/need to "apply" for a "job" in the first place.
|4/22/2011 15:40:57||I started out as a casual reporter on a weekly coomunity newspaper. I mostly wrote arts & lifestyle pieces. I landed the paid gig after completing an internship at the publication.||Tenacity - the ability to be competitive & chase after stories.|
Resourceful - quick fact gathering & the ability to draw on sources & comment in a timely fashion.
Technical skills - with the Internet & computer programs becoming more commonplace, journalists these days require an aptitude for new technology, social media & the online space.
|Persistence||Having substantial experience under your belt prior to commencing your first real job. And knowing the right people. Unfortunately, getting a gig nowadays doesn't come down to your qualifications or how good a journalist you are. It's about knowing someone on the inside who can help get your foot in the door. I landed my current news reporting role through someone I knew.|
|4/22/2011 17:13:01||Writing for the technology section of a major newspaper||1. Basic photography/videography skills as you may have to take your own pictures|
2. Good and flexible writing skills as you may need to come out with a web, print & mobile version of the same story.
3. Technology skills like knowing how to use Google Docs to crowdsource for a story. :)
|Passion||Good writing skills & experience|
|4/23/2011 11:22:18||newspaper reporter at a small daily||Don't know if these are "skills," but it's what my news org values, going forward...|
-Ability to be flexible, try new things
-Strong work ethic, self-motivated -- will probably be on your own without much oversight from editors
|innovate||persistence, having an open mind for what "journalism" means today. I went the traditional route with a newspaper job but considered online startups and media production companies.|
|4/24/2011 18:06:20||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.||A strong foundation on the basics (AP Style, writing, reporting, ethics)|
Adventurous, innovative and adaptive spirit (You better have at least tried out twitter, blogging, movie-editing, data analysis, storify, the awesome Google tools, etc. And hopefully you've gotten good at at least one of them)
Critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving (Being quick on your feet is not only valuable within your newsroom, it is essential when dealing with sources, especially when you're seen at the green reporter)
|Network||Being fearless of moving. Your ideal journalism job is out there — it just may not be where you are comfortable or close to family. Be committed to cutting your teeth no matter what and where if you want to truly grow.|
|4/29/2011 17:28:19||Freelance stories for a regional biz newsweekly.||Writing, interviewing, negotiating.||Ask||Proving you're willing to take on what nobody else wants to, and doing it well. (You don't have to like it, but don't complain.)|
|4/29/2011 17:43:00||copy editor at a small daily paper||how to find AND VET information|
how to fit information into a context/history or make it relevant to readers
how to express that story accurately and clearly and interestingly
|think||who you know as much as what you know, but you need both|
|4/29/2011 17:52:48||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.||The most important skill is effective storytelling. Whenever possible, you need an image, so knowing basic photography for the web is essential. Then you need to know how to effectively share the story via social media: how to blog, write well-crafted tweets that will get shared and post links on Facebook that will engage the community.||Strategic||You have to pursue opportunities to talk to people who do the work you want to do. |
-Reach out to them on Twitter, look at who follows them and whom they follow and educate yourself about the subjects they discuss with colleagues in their tweets.
-Attend their public lectures and presentations, comment on their blogs and attend conferences they attend.
-Participate in chats they participate in
-Read blogs that address topics in your desired niche.
|4/29/2011 21:02:56||It was while I was in school. Clerk job at local paper.||Ask tough, smart questions. Unafraid to take risks. Honesty. Know how to test information.||Relocate||Initiative. Advocate for yourself.|
|4/30/2011 6:04:20||editorial assistant for data and research at The Chronicle of Philanthropy||Data/Open Records - how to find data, how to get data from folks who don't want to give it to you, how to analyze (at a minimum: using Excel), how to visualize (again, Excel charts at a minimum), how to find someone with skills to present the data for print, online, mobile.|
Online/Web - how to find and use new online storytelling tools, social media, multimedia packages, collaboration.
Ethics - the faster journalism moves and changes, the larger the gray areas get. A good foundation in solid journalism ethics will never steer you down the wrong path.
|Aspire||Loving journalism and wanting to make it better. Being open to any and all possibilities. Being uniquely useful.|
|4/30/2011 8:46:07||Job at The St. Ignace News. General assignment reporter.||People skills, drive, willing to step out of comfort zone.||Determination||You have to get your foot into the door. Whether you ask to write for free or take time out of your personal life.|
|5/2/2011 6:57:45||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 disdvantaged, chronically unemployed and laid-off workers.||Actual writing and reporting skills are number one. A good understanding of social media and the ability to use multimedia tools to report their stories.||adaptability||The key, outside of having the skills listed above, is networking. This should start in college, with professors and local media workers. Get business cards from everyone, create a LinkedIn profile and invest in your network. That network will not only help you get that first job, it will also help you get the jobs after the first one.|
|5/3/2011 15:10:45||copy editing on the Universal Desk at the Dallas Morning News||1. Be prepared to work. Hard.|
2. Learn -- and master -- new technology. (You don't have to be an early adopter -- remember Google Wave? -- but you should aim to be familiar with emerging platforms for news distribution.)
3. If you don't have the know-how to do something yourself, find someone who knows and is willing to teach you.
|Proofread||Persistence and a willingness to do just about anything (within reason).|
|5/4/2011 17:57:31||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).||Storytelling, Resourcefulness, Desire to kick ass and forget about money for awhile||Future||It comes down to persistence and making sure that you WANT to write journalism. It's not a perfect job, but it's a fascinating/fantastic/fast-paced way to make a decent living and learn about the world. ....And that reminds me, you have to want to LEARN!|
|5/4/2011 18:00:37||The job I have now. Associate producer for MassLive.com.||Writing, web literacy (basic HTML/CSS, understanding of social networks and how to leverage the resources of the Web while maintaining a certain level of accuracy) and the ability to match the form to the story rather than vice-versa.||Listen!||Knowing people. "Networking" is for shills. But seek out people whom you admire and they will think you are so smart for recognizing their brilliance that they'll want to hire you or help you out. People in our industry are vain.|
|5/4/2011 18:04:14||Neighborhood reporter, St. Petersburg Times||1. source building|
3. Managing management
|persistence||1. knowing people|
2. selling yourself
|5/4/2011 18:08:45||Reporter/Photojournalist at a 150th market TV station in North Carolina.||1. Versatility: Do not pigeonhole your skill set to being able to do just one job. Journalism comes in different forms, visually and in written form.|
2. Solid writing skills/command of English language: You'd be surprised at how many "journalists" can't spell, can't write an articulated sentence, can't figure out how to punctuate properly.
3. People skills: Understanding what affects people is key to understanding how your stories can affect your readers or viewers.
|Perseverance.||Showing up with "the goods". Have a solid portfolio to back up your resume, whether it's a collection of tear sheets, a video reel, or links to your online works. Present only the best, and get the opinion of a professional with an objective view.|
The resume is only as good as the material that can back it up!
|5/4/2011 18:23:30||Research librarian at The Palm Beach Post||Ask good questions|
Articulate clear ideas and concepts