Today’s Lesson: Successful journalists make it happen. They create their own opportunities, they “know somebody,” and they always work ridiculously hard.
Though at times this message seemed impossible for me to grasp and enact on my own, it did get me thinking about journalism differently.
The first session today was led by a foreign correspondent who basically graduated from Law School, and bought a one-way ticket to India. Once there, though she had no plan and no journalism experience, she wrote a story about Indian Circus Girls and sold it to a magazine. That led to another story, and she eventually landed at 60 minutes and other TV shows. She built her own career, because she was able to find stories and turn them into opportunities. Though I may not have the gusto or connections that she had, listening to her story did encourage me to think more creatively, and to be more proactive about carving out a path for myself.
Then I went to a presentation by Brian Stetler, a prominent New York Times reporter. Yet his career path was also hardly conventional. Brian basically promoted himself through his TV news blog. Instead of blogging just about his life, he spent his free time in college writing about TV news. But not only did he create a blog, he worked hard to sell it and make it popular. He reached out to other blogs and passed his links around. He molded his own reporter niche, and now covers topics that not every other reporter can simply take on. His initiative was stellar. I was jealous of his ingenuity. But, above all, he left all of us young, budding, and terrified journalists with a hopeful message: Yes, there are jobs. Yes, you learn more from experience then you do in class. And yes, journalism is immortal.
Thank you, Brian Stetler. I needed to hear that, especially from someone like you.
Aside from journalism mania, it was another beautiful day! Cheap earrings for my souvenir, a hot dog from a vendor for lunch, an NBC tour and new conference friends. All New York memories!
Sigh. Last day tomorrow. It seems almost unjust to have to leave! But, one more day to learn as much as I can! I’m happy for that!