My name is Casey Clark and I am a freelance writer based in New York City. I specialize in food, beauty and pop culture content. I believe in using my platform to inform and educate people about different products and news in a way that is engaging and easy to read.
If you have been following this series from the beginning, then you might remember I embarked on this project to learn more about the journalism industry and to collect advice from current working journalists.
At first, I was a bit hesitant about doing this series, because I did not want my view of the profession to change. Essentially, my thought process was similar to ‘what I don’t know can’t hurt me.’ Looking back, I realize that was pretty naive of me to think that way. I am only two years away from graduating college and it is crucial that I know everything I possibly can before stepping out into the real world.
Salary and job stability were two of the main concerns I had at the start of this series, but I can honestly say that I have more hope for my future than I did a few weeks ago. Listening to the different stories from journalists all over the world about how they ended up at their current positions, gave me hope that there is a future for students like me who are entering such a rapidly-evolving and competitive field.
I thought it was very interesting how many of the journalists had similar background stories pertaining to how they had a passion for writing from childhood which followed them into adulthood. While I am technically an adult, I still consider myself a kid because I am not financially independent and I don’t have a job. However, I can relate to their stories because when I was in elementary school, I always loved writing and that creativity never left, even into my college years. I still think there is something special about telling a story and captivating the attention of a reader through words.
Mostly all of the journalists I talked to had a similar starting salary of between $30,000-$40,000. I think this is a decent salary for an entry-level position, however for someone who lives in New York City, this is pretty low considering the high cost of living.
Having the time to think about my future salary allowed me to put my life into perspective. While I might not be making six figures, I will be engaging in a job that I find interesting and rewarding. If this is something I am going to have to do for the rest of my life, I’d rather enjoy doing it, than make a few extra dollars. I realize I am saying this now when I am not financially independent nor working in the real world, but I think my point remains the same. Money comes with any job, but happiness doesn’t.
Enough about money. Let’s talk about jobs. I was very concerned about landing a job after graduation, but after talking to some current working journalists, I realized that I am on the right path. In order to land a job after graduation, it is really important to have experience in the field. This can include writing for an on-campus newspaper, interning at a news organization and freelancing. It is important to obtain this experience in college because many companies are looking for entry-level workers with prior experience.
I really hope that this series helped you develop a better understanding of the journalism industry and provided information that you didn’t know before. If you take the time to go through each of the articles, I can assure you that you will learn something that can take your writing to the next level.
Below I have attached some additional resources that include more information about journalism opportunities, careers and internships.
I am very excited to introduce the next journalist for this series because I have known him for over eight years. I started doing journalism at 12-years-old, where I covered red carpet events and conducted interviews with the latest Disney and Nickelodeon celebrities. I met this next journalist at a food festival in Bryant Park and the rest is history. You might recognize him as Nevel Papperman from Nickelodeon’s “iCarly,” but now Reed Alexander is covering the latest stories at New York City’s top newsrooms.
When Alexander was 11-years-old he started acting on television in “Will and Grace” and then at 12-years-old, he started working on Nickelodeon’s “iCarly.” Since he was so young at the time, Alexander did not think he was in the running to be doing journalism at that point in his life. It wasn’t until he was a teenager, that he really started to develop an interest in journalism and news gathering.
Alexander would frequently travel in Europe alongside his parents who were attorneys that dealt with a lot of overseas cases. While his parents were in court, Alexander would tour places such as London, Paris and Monaco and engage himself in all of the activities that they had to offer. While traveling abroad, his interest in news developed as he started to watch more and more English news channels that covered stories differently than the United States.
“I was fascinated by the breadth of the stories and the coverage that they were doing that we just don’t really get in the U.S. If you watch the U.S. networks, I would say that what we see is quite limited as far as world events. We are very focused on Trump, U.S. affairs, the U.S. economy with very little room for international news. So this world of international stories was opened up to me through travel and I was fascinated by them,” says Alexander.
When Alexander was 15-years-old, he developed an interest in food which led him to develop Kewlbites.com. KewlBites was a digital lifestyle platform that specialized in heathy cooking, exercise and lifestyle. During this time in his career, Alexander was highly exposed to journalists as he appeared on many news channels and talkshows to promote his work.
“I was going on the Today Show, CNN, the Spanish news channels, Good Morning America, Fox News, CBS, The Talk. You name it I was there. I was always talking about food. I would show up in the newspaper and I was constantly doing interviews with journalists. I thought that they just had the most interesting jobs and they seemed like fascinating people,” says Alexander.
Alexander believed that journalists have such an interesting job because they have the opportunity to interview people from all walks of life and cover really serious stories that are important to society.
Before an appearance on Good Day New York, Alexander was asked about who his inspirations were. It was actually the very journalists who he was talking with that were a major source of inspiration for him. “Honestly, I look up to you guys. I said please don’t think I’m trying to be flattering. I think you guys are heroes for society because you get to go out on the front lines of really hard stories and put yourself at risk so the rest of us know whats happening back home and can make really smart decisions based on what is happening in the world.”
I was really moved by his story because he really hit the nail right on the head in terms of why journalists are so important to society. Alexander continued his passion for journalism when he became an on-air food contributor for BBC Radio. During his time at BBC, Alexander told stories about international food policies, food laws and consumer scams around food. After working with BBC for two years, Alexander headed back to New York City where he finished his undergraduate degree in journalism at New York University.
Many of Alexander’s peers thought he would have majored in film due to his previous television experience, but he described how his interests evolved and his passion was more in journalism. Alexander believes that his acting experience greatly prepared him for his future as a journalist.
“Broadcast journalism, which is what I love, is really predicated on your stage presence. I think every broadcaster should at least go through a presentation class if not formal acting training. They need to know how to do that, how to have a conversation, how to be emotionally intelligent in the way you ask questions and evoke a response from people. Acting teaches you all of that, so in a way, it was the best possible training to become a journalist,” says Alexander.
I asked Alexander what he did in college to prepare for entering the field and similar to previous journalists in this series, taking related courses and participating in internships were extremely beneficial. “Towards the end of my time at NYU, I had done internships, I had done freelance writing, I had taken a lot of writing classes, and I had done journalism classes, digital media classes, I really tried to seat myself in where the digital industry was going.”
While at NYU, Alexander moved to Hong Kong for four months where he interned at CNN. At CNN, Alexander covered hard news and foreign affairs which are his primary topics of interest. Alexander was in Hong Kong at the time President Donald Trump was elected. Alexander covered the Asian response and all the concerns that people had about what Trump would do to trade. In addition, Alexander covered the North Korean missile tests, famine and hunger in Asia, climate change, technology and business stories for CNN.
After his four months in Hong Kong, Alexander returned to NYC to finish his last semester at NYU. Right out of college, Alexander was offered a job at Dow Jones. Alexander was writing for a site called Moneyish where he worked on short to medium length assignments. Alexander’s boss at the time taught him a lot including the skills needed to be able to report on deadline, to get news from people, to pitch better stories and to find angles in stories that he would enjoy.
After his year at Dow Jones, Alexander made the hard decision to leave and decided to move to Palm Beach where he worked as a freelance writer for several lifestyle magazines. Alexander had been non-stop working since he was a teenager and taking a break was a step in the right direction.
Currently in his journalism career, Alexander is earning his masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and is focusing on stories centered around mental health. Alexander is shining a light on what has previously been an underrepresented issue in the media and is using his platform to make a difference.
To see more of what Alexander is working on, follow him on Twitter: @ReedAlexander
Unfortunately, this series is quickly coming to an end, but before that happens I wanted to talk with someone who has been in the industry for over 20+ years to get their take on the current state of journalism. I had the opportunity to chat with Gisele Regatao on her passion for journalism and most importantly, the advice she has for rising journalists in the current media landscape.
As a child, Regatao would spend most of her free time reading and writing. Regatao grew up alongside her mother who was a teacher and her father who was a dentist. Regatao’s father regularly read the newspaper and engaged her in the news from an early age. It was when she hit 14-years-old, that Regatao began to wonder how she could take her passion for writing and turn it into a career.
“I remember one day I was 14-years-old, I turned to my dad and said, “What does someone who likes to read and write a lot do for a living?” He said, “You can be a journalist,” and almost immediately I knew that was what I was going to do and I never looked back.”
Regatao grew up in Brazil which has a different education system than America. When it was time for college, it was the norm for students to decide on a career in the undergraduate level and that is when Regatao decided to major in journalism.
Regatao attended the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, which is Brazil’s largest public university and the country’s most prestigious educational institution. Regatao had three siblings which put a great amount of pressure on her to get into the institution since her parents could not afford to send all of their children to college. Regatao studied for the entrance examination for a year. Ultimately, Regatao was accepted into the university, but only by a few spots. “The journalism courses only had 45 spots and I got spot 43. I was one of the last but I got in,” says Regatao.
“I think journalism is the best career in the world and I think I am so lucky that I get to do it. I’ve been so passionate about it from day one and I’ve never questioned for a minute that this was not the right decision or this was not the right career for me and I just love it.”
After graduation from the University of Sao Paulo, Regatao worked for two years at several Brazilian newspapers and magazines until she moved to New York City. In NYC, Regatao attended Baruch College where she earned her masters degree in business journalism.
“It’s much easier to get a job in business journalism because not many people know and understand it,” says Regatao. While Regatao has a background in business journalism, she mainly focuses on art and culture journalism.
While it is easier to have a career in business journalism, the internet provides the opportunity for anyone to be a journalist with the click of a button. Regatao teaches a podcast course at Columbia University and she mentioned how mediums such as podcast and radio can be done from anywhere at anytime, increasing the chances for rising journalists to succeed and make money.
From talking on the phone with Regatao it was apparent how strong her passion is for journalism and how much she enjoys her work. Currently Regatao is an assistant professor of journalism at Baruch, where she works with students who are passionate about the field, but also have similar worries to mine in terms of salary and job stability.
I asked Regatao what the most common concerns among her journalism students are and the two she hears most frequently are, “Will I be able to get a job?” and “Will I be able to pay the bills?” These are two questions I had at the onset of this series and Regatao’s answer is similar to that of prior journalists.
Regatao has been able to support herself by being a journalist, but that also came with a lot of hard work and dedication.
Regatao emphasized the importance of knowledge of multi-media components for students entering the field as writing is becoming more obsolete. “Nobody is hiring reporters if you only write, those jobs are disappearing. You have to have multi-media skills and journalism skills and then get out there and do your stuff.”
Towards the end of our conversation, Regatao offered a few words of wisdom based on her experience in the field for anyone entering the workforce, but especially aspiring journalists.
“There is nothing more important than doing what you’re passionate about. That’s how you’re going to spend your days. Think about it. It’s eight hours a day for the rest of your life. You have to choose something that you really are passionate about. If journalism is something that you are really passionate about, then you are going to make it work and you’re going to succeed. Unfortunately, it is much more challenging now than it was for me 20 years ago, but I feel like there is nothing more important than doing what you’re passionate about.”
To see more of what Regatao is working on, follow her on Twitter: @GRegatao
For a quick recap, from talking with Rubin, Whitman and Taylor, it is becoming evident that one of the keys to succeeding in journalism is by participating in internships. The next person I will be highlighting in this series is another journalist who not only greatly benefited from internships, but also through networking opportunities.
When Kerry Flynn was a child, her dream job had nothing to do with journalism. Flynn had her heart set on being a veterinarian. While that is a noble profession, it wasn’t until middle school that Flynn became more interested in journalism. “I was no longer interested in pursuing my childhood dream of being a veterinarian and was considering something in Hollywood like movie directing or production,” says Flynn. “My friend suggested we start a newspaper in our middle school since our high school had one. We never officially launched one, but the idea cemented my decision to join the high school paper and that’s where I fell in love with journalism.”
Flynn attended Harvard College where she majored in environmental science and public policy. Flynn believed that having knowledge on climate change, which she thinks is one of the most important issues of her generation, would be beneficial towards her future success as a journalist. “I thought maybe I would pursue environmental journalism and that the degree could also provide good background there,” says Flynn.
While in college, Flynn was actively involved in The Harvard Crimson. The Harvard Crimson is the nation’s oldest continuously published daily college newspaper and is the only breakfast-table daily newspaper in Cambridge, MA. During her time at the school newspaper, Flynn strengthened her writing and reporting skills which prepared her for landing a job after graduation.
Flynn’s first job after graduation was a paid summer internship at Forbes. At Forbes, Flynn was able to engage in business journalism, which she loved, and participate in the company’s famous way of storytelling which focused on people. During Flynn’s internship, she covered entrepreneurs who were striving to improve sustainability and improve the planet.
Some of the pieces Flynn wrote for Forbes included stories on college students who were working towards being social entrepreneurs and an on-demand beauty app that was aiming for success comparable to Amazon.
Flynn enjoyed her time at Forbes and felt that it pushed her career in the right direction. “I learned a great deal about the media industry in that first opportunity,” says Flynn. “During that summer, Forbes got acquired and employees were anticipating the office’s move from 5th Avenue in NYC to New Jersey. Now, I’m covering the business of the media industry so it’s fair to say that my personal experiences at companies like Forbes contributed to my interest in covering media.”
Since Forbes was Flynn’s first job after graduation, I asked her what her salary looked like compared to what she initially thought. “I didn’t have high expectations for my salary, knowing I was choosing an internship versus a job. Forbes paid a decent hourly rate, especially compared to other internships in NYC.”
After talking with Flynn about salary, I was curious to find out which companies offer the highest paying internships. According to an article from Forbes, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, ExxonMobil, Yahoo, VMware, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Valero Energy and several other companies offer the most lucrative internships in the U.S. The average monthly salary for an intern at Microsoft is nearly $7,478 followed by LinkedIn at $7,453.
After reading this data, I was absolutely blown away by how much companies are currently paying interns. I think it makes sense to pay interns because many people, especially in New York City, are working over 40 hours a week.
Following her time at Forbes, Flynn went on to work for The Huffington Post as an editorial fellow in technology. At Huffington Post, Flynn was responsible for monitoring breaking news, producing reported stories, and managing social media for the Huff Post Tech vertical. As a fellow, Flynn strengthened her headline writing and SEO skills which are extremely important in an age where news is mainly being consumed online.
According to the American Society of Business Publication Editors, “If you don’t make SEO part of your editorial strategy, your content won’t rank on a search engine results page.” There are many different news outlets which are all competing for clicks and including relevant key words is one of the best ways to get a page ranked on search engines.
After working for The Huffington Post, Flynn went on to be a tech reporter at International Business Times which was a part of Newsweek Media Group. During her time at International Business Times, Flynn covered social media companies and trends, startups and the digital component of the 2016 presidential race.
Following her time reporting for International Business Times, Flynn went on to cover the business of the technology industry for Mashable. After Mashable, Flynn was a platforms reporter for Digiday, where she reported on media platforms as it related to media buying, brands and publishers. After nearly a year and a half working for Digiday, Flynn landed her current job at CNN as a media reporter. Flynn’s current responsibilities include covering media giants, digital media, newspapers and magazines for CNN Business.
I asked Flynn what her advice was for students, like myself, who are looking to land a job after college. Flynn emphasized the importance of using social media to not only share your work, but to enhance your credibility as a reporter. “You can start making a name for yourself and meet other media professionals by sharing what you’re reading and what you’re writing online,” says Flynn. “I’d recommend to any journalist to start using Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook as tools to share and discuss their work and the work of others. In this way, you’ll start to build up credibility and it may be easier to pitch publications for freelance opportunities and perhaps a full-time position.”
To see more of what Flynn is working on, make sure to follow her on Twitter: @KerryMFlynn.
As a part of this series, in addition to talking with people who had their hearts set on journalism from the start of their college careers, I also wanted to chat with others who eventually fell into the field either during college or after graduation. Some people fall into journalism because they like to write and other people have interest in the field because they are naturally curious and want to find answers.
Kate Taylor always had a passion for writing and wanted a job where she could write everyday. Taylor attended Dartmouth College where she majored in history and sociology. Taylor did not take many classes that directly related to journalism, but she did learn how to write and research intensively.
It is important to note that Dartmouth does not have a journalism program, which left Taylor to acquire most of her journalism knowledge and skills by participating in internships and actually working in the field.
Dartmouth College’s 10-week terms provide students with the opportunity to pursue internships during any part of the year as opposed to only in the summer.
According to an article posted by St. Olaf College, “An experience like an internship is vital in that it serves many functions, including helping students explore and test out their interests, building their skills and applying their academic learning, making professional contacts who can be mentors and guides, and even securing a full-time job after graduation.”
Taylor is one of the many students who have greatly benefited from engaging in internships throughout college. Taylor’s first internship was at Mental Floss magazine where she was responsible for conducting research and creating articles and quizzes. Following her internship at Mental Floss, Taylor went on to intern at Forbes.
At Forbes, Taylor had the opportunity to interview business gurus, attend research unveilings and be apart of creating The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list. It was during Taylor’s time at Forbes that she believed helped her to get her foot into the door of the industry and ultimately land her current job at Business Insider. “My internship at Forbes very much set me up for the job I have now. I ended up there, and ultimately in business journalism, simply because that was the only paid internship that I applied to that accepted me,” says Taylor.
For a lot of journalism interns in the years prior, landing an internship would most likely have led to a full-time position. However, that was not the case for Taylor because Forbes announced they would not be hiring any of their interns and would be moving their offices from New York City to New Jersey.
At Business Insider, Taylor mainly writes stories about the fast-food, beverage and packaged food industries. Some of the articles that Taylor has recently written are about the quality of meat at certain Taco Bell locations and about Wendy’s executives admitting that their last breakfast initiative was a failure.
After Taylor mentioned her passion for food trends, I decided to ask her what her salary looked like right after college compared to what it looks like now. I was not really looking for specific numbers, but more of a general idea because food writing is something I definitely want to pursue in the future. “I felt pretty lucky to be making around $50k at Entrepreneur,” says Taylor. “I make more than twice my starting salary now, six years later.”
Taylor’s starting salary at Entrepreneur was pretty high compared to what Rubin and Whitman received as their starting salaries when entering the industry. While Taylor earned an impressive salary, she realizes that not everyone is the journalism field is as lucky. “I realize that my current salary is better than many in the industry. It’s hard for many people working in media to get paid fairly, especially as more roles become freelance positions.”
Towards the end of our conversation, I asked Taylor if she had any advice about how to land a job after college and how she thinks the industry has changed in the last several years. “Some positive changes are that fewer places are using unpaid interns today. At this point, most places are paying interns. On the negative side, due to layoffs and a reduced number of jobs, it can be harder to move up after getting an internship. Even six years ago, I felt that if you got an internship at a prestigious place, you were pretty set for getting a job; I don’t know if that is as true today.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts are expected to face strong competition for jobs. Those with experience in the field—experience often gained through internships or by working for school newspapers, television stations, or radio stations—should have the best job prospects.” The trend of gaining experience in the industry prior to graduation appears to be the key to landing a job among Rubin, Whitman and Taylor.
Even though I have only talked with three people in the industry so far in this series, their stories gives me hope that I will be able to land a job after graduation and work towards achieving my goals.
To see more of Taylor, make sure to follow her on Twitter: @Kate_H_Taylor.
When I first started studying journalism, I thought that I would only be doing hard news stories such as covering town hall meetings or local events. However, I quickly realized that there were many facets to the field including entertainment and magazine journalism. I have always had an interest in pop culture, lifestyle, beauty and wellness and for this series, I wanted to talk with journalists who share similar interests to mine and one of them is Elana Rubin.
If you don’t know Rubin, then you definitely will want to know more about her after reading about her work in the industry.
From a young age, Rubin always had a passion for being creative and telling stories. Later on in life, Rubin realized that pursuing journalism would allow her to do that for a living.
Rubin attended New York University and majored in journalism and art history. In order to prepare for the working world, Rubin took classes that taught her about journalism ethics and how to write a straight, hard news story.
To start off our conversation, I asked Rubin if she received any advice from professors at NYU that she was able to use to help get her foot in the door of the industry. “I didn’t get a lot of advice about entering the industry – I learned more by just diving into it and learning from my mistakes,” says Rubin.
There is the common question of what student journalists should prioritize: education or hands-on experience. This topic is still up for debate, but a study conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public’s Media Marketplace found that employers are ultimately seeking candidates that have received both a college degree and real-world experience. The study also indicated that “employers place more weight on experience, particularly internships and employment during school vs. academic credentials including GPA and college major when evaluating a recent graduate for employment.”
While Rubin received a high quality education, she benefited even more by interning and actually practicing her craft. Rubin first interned for Hearst Digital Media’s Sweet where she was an editorial intern. Rubin conducted research, fact-checked and transcribed interviews for editors. Eventually, Rubin worked her way up to becoming an associate editor for HDM’s BestProducts.com where she wrote food, beauty, fashion and entertainment content.
Following her time at HDM, Rubin was a dating writer for Elite Daily where she wrote articles about dating, relationships and celebrity couples. After Elite Daily, Rubin went to work for Hollywood Life as an entertainment news writer. At HL, Rubin wrote entertainment news articles, interviewed actors and covered red carpet events. Rubin currently has a job in entertainment as a writers PA on season two of CBS’s All Access “Tell Me A Story.” In addition to screen writing, Rubin is a freelance writer for publications including Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Wonderland, Out.com and Byrdie Beauty.
A majority of Rubin’s work in journalism has been conducted through digital and social platforms. This is an advantage that rising journalists have today because more emphasis is placed on digital content creation.
According to a study from the Pew Research Center, “Since 2008, the number of digital-native newsroom employees has increased by 82%, from about 7,400 workers to about 13,500 in 2018. This increase of about 6,100 total jobs, however, fell far short of offsetting the loss of about 33,000 newspaper newsroom jobs during the same period.”
While it is unfortunate that there has been a decrease in jobs at newspaper newsrooms, the rise of digital newsroom jobs are providing recent graduates with the potential opportunity of landing a job that aligns with their passions and interests.
If this isn’t already impressive enough, Rubin was also open enough to share specifics about what her younger self pictured as a starting salary. “Happy to go into specifics – it is helpful for those entering the workforce to be equipped with this knowledge. I thought my first job I’d get like $50,000. I had no idea how little digital media pays entry-level,” says Rubin. “My communications job paid $37,000 annually, and my first paid freelance article (which was a 700-word feature), I got paid $75. For another feature, I was paid $25 when starting out. This is low. My first staff job in digital media was at Hearst a year after graduating college, and I made $40,000 annually. I was an associate editor – so an editorial assistant or assistant editor would likely make in the $30k range.”
As a college student, $37,000 seems glorious compared to what I currently have in my bank account, but it is important for aspiring journalists, like myself, to know what they are getting themselves into financially when entering this profession.
Towards the end of our conversation, I asked Rubin if she had any advice on how rising journalists can use social media to their advantage in advancing their career. “You can totally find jobs and editors to pitch via social media, and it’s a vital resource for anyone who wants to be a writer,” says Rubin.
If you are reading this article, then you are probably wondering how to get a job in journalism. As a current journalism student at Hofstra University, I am learning the skills and information to become a credible writer and reporter. While I know I am receiving a quality education, I still question how I am going to get a job in such a competitive field after I graduate and I know I’m not alone.
In January 2019, several major digital and print newsrooms including BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Vice and The Dallas Morning News let go over 2,000 journalists. As a current journalism student, who aspires to work for such companies, this news was extremely disheartening to hear. Not only was my fear of not getting a job present prior to this announcement, but the news of more layoffs definitely did not ease my anxiety.
The first people I went to when trying to find answers about how to obtain a job after graduation were my professors. I reached out to one of my former professors I had in freshman year to get his advice. “Today’s job candidate has to be more versatile. There are social media jobs and podcasting jobs in journalism now. There are more and more video jobs,” says Robert Cassidy, a journalism professor at Hofstra. “When a candidate comes out of school, that person should have the traditional reporting skills, but that person should be able to understand social media and video production and web presentation.”
Most professors started at local papers and eventually worked their way up. While this path is still viable, the rise of social media and the internet has changed the way people can start and rise within the industry.
Principles of Journalism
While the mediums of producing journalism have changed and there are more compelling ways to tell stories than ever before, the basic principles of journalism have remained the same. According to the Ethical Journalism Network, the five principles of ethical journalism are: truth and accuracy, independence, fairness and impartiality, humanity and accountability.
In their work, journalists are expected to strive for accuracy and factual reporting. In order to make sure the information that is being reported is accurate, fact checking is essential. It is easy to be misinformed with the rise of social media because anyone has the ability to publish content. Journalists must make it a priority to check the credibility of their sources and make sure the information they are providing is the most accurate and relevant as possible.
Journalists are expected to work independently meaning that there is an expectation for full transparency. If a reporter is writing a story that has any ties to political, corporate or cultural interests, it is important that there is full disclosure to the audience that there is information which could be seen as a conflict of interest.
In addition to being transparent, there is the need to hear both sides of the story. As Joseph Michael Straczynski once said, “Remember, there are always two sides to every story. Understanding is a three edged sword. Your side, their side and the truth in the middle. Get all the facts before you jump to conclusions.” This is crucial for journalists to keep in mind when gathering information for a story. Journalists should obtain information from both sides and then do their best to keep both sides balanced when reporting.
While journalists are expected to inform the public, it is important that they achieve that without producing any harm. Journalists should take caution when it comes to covering stories including minors and people in vulnerable positions.
The last principle of ethical journalism involves taking accountability for your actions. As a human being, everyone is prone to mistakes, but in journalism it is important for reporters to hold themselves accountable for errors made while covering a story. If an error is made, a reporter should acknowledge the mistake, correct the information and provide a sincere apology.
Working in Journalism Today
The principles listed above are those which an ethical journalist should consider and follow when engaging in their work. Over the past four years, President Donald Trump has made headlines when talking about the press by calling journalists “the enemy of the people.” This has greatly changed the way audiences view media and how much trust they have in news organizations. Many people think that practicing journalists today do not adhere to ethical principles, but that is not the case as you will see over the course of this series.
As a current journalism student, Trump’s rhetoric about journalists and the media worries me because not only do I want to get a job after college, but I want audiences to value my work as a journalist. While my professors offered me helpful insight, I thought it would be interesting to reach out to current young working journalists in the professional world to hear about their rise to success. In this series, I have conversations with different journalists from BuzzFeed News, Allure, CNN, Vanity Fair, INSIDER, Bloomberg, Gizmodo and other well known organizations about how they landed their current jobs and the steps they took to get there.
My goal by the end of this series is to reach some kind of understanding about how young people are going about the job search today and how that differs from the traditional “start at a local newspaper and work your way up” perspective. I don’t think any less of the more traditional approach, but my hope is to learn more about how people in large urban cities are navigating the industry and eventually apply this information towards my own career development.
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- If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.
Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.
When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.