by Clare Duffy |
Networking: A word that strikes fear into the hearts of many, mine included.
Until I discovered that “networking,” when done properly, is really just a fancy way of saying, “talking with smart, passionate people about things that you love” – that doesn’t sound half bad, does it? Not to mention that building a network is crucial in the journalism industry: people who are also new to the trade and seasoned vets, people in a variety of different positions and specialties, people who can give you advice and to whom you can offer something as well.
All this we’d been working on since our first professional conference experience at ONA15 in September. And it came in handy just hours after we’d touched down in New York for CMA16 and were talking about everything from marriage to interviewing Oprah with an editor from Ebony Magazine.
Making these kinds of connections is all about putting yourself out there, keeping them is all about maintaining relationships without always asking for something and you can take advantage of them when you’re in their city and take them for coffee or visit their newsroom.
While we were in New York, we visited the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and the Today Show, and had coffee with reporters at CBS and International Business Journal. When it comes to setting up these sorts of meetings, don’t be afraid to ask – people generally like talking about what they do and showing younger journalists the ropes. But, also be extra gracious and thankful, as they are no doubt pushing back a deadline or extending their workday for you.
In each of these meetings, there were several common pieces of advice:
- Seek out and appreciate good editors.
- Respect the learning process and don’t try to jump too far too fast without a solid foundation.
- It’s all about who you know, so keep making and maintaining these kinds of connections (you never know where they might take you).