Anybody hiring?

October 2, 2009 | By | Category: General News, Student Newsroom

By Juana Summers

The dinner table talk about the future of journalism doesn’t involve a lot of optimism. Even some people in the industry are telling me I should probably go to graduate school instead of looking for journalism jobs. The news is filled with talk of furloughs, buyouts and hiring freezes, but I’m not backing off. Journalism’s been my passion for as long as I can remember, and I’m willing to work hard and be creative in order to get a job.

ona09_sn_summers_juana_web This is the time when I’m supposed to panic. I’m less than three months from graduation and I still don’t have a concrete plan. While the job hunt isn’t keeping me awake at night, I could still use a little direction. One of my goals for the Online News Association Conference was to have positive conversations about the way the industry is going and potentially meet my next boss.

As I spoke with different media professionals during my first day in San Francisco, I realized I had a lot to learn about networking and little reason to be scared of where I’m headed. When I conduct interviews for stories, whether print or broadcast, I’m in control and feel like I can handle any conversation. I’ve interviewed neo-Nazis in Missouri and presidential hopefuls in Ohio. With that in mind, I thought talking to working journalists would be easy.  Not so much. I found myself on the margins of a lot of conversations and not adding all that much value. Networking is supposed to be an exchange, but what do I have to offer someone who’s been doing this for years?

A professor pushed me to be persistent, have confidence in my skills and be willing to go anywhere.  A woman I worked with in a past internship challenged me to be more daring and willing to take risks in my work. It’s great advice, but to put it into practice, I actually need to find a job. When I spoke with an alumnus from Missouri, he told me that since he graduated in 2006, young journalists have gained more opportunities to enter the industry. He got hired at through persistence and a lot of luck.

Journalism isn’t dying; the way we practice it is just changing and I’m ready to change with it.

The clock’s ticking. I have 76 days until college graduation. Check back with me then to see where I end up.

Juana Summers is a participant in the ONA Student Newsroom. She’s a graduating senior from the Missouri School of Journalism.

Comments are closed.