Archive for March, 2017


Rachel Rippetoe – Living Editor
  1. Context is key and it’s missing from a lot of major news today. To truly do your job as a journalist you need to be reading and researching and encompassing the background of what’s happening in major news stories.
  2. You need to let your coworkers get to know you. Build your brand and it will help you gain opportunities.
  3. Identify people who have the job you want and look at their path to success !!
  4. Look at newsroom issues as a triage unit. Focus on what you can save best and trash what you need to.
  5. As an Editor- in- Chief, it’s not about being right. It’s about doing the right things for the right reason.
Olivia Sanchez – Opinion and Faith Editor
  1. Build relationships everywhere you go, you never know when they will come in handy!
  2. Teamwork is everything. No one person could keep The Beacon afloat, we are most successful when we all work together. (It’s also way more fun when we are all here for each other.)
  3. Good things come to those who hustle…. And if you want to make a career in New York, or in journalism, you have to commit and give it your all!
  4. Be memorable (but be yourself). Branding is super important. (I have been thinking about this a lot).
  5. Take a risk every once in a while! And remember that people usually want to help you succeed.
Jeffrey Braccia – Photographer/Videographer
  1. Be ready to do both (photos and video).
  2. A good photo captures and event but also make you feel emotion.
  3. Keep doing what you love. You never know what career path you will take.
  4. Networking is key.
  5. Digital is the future embrace what we have and keep making it the best it can be.

Dora Totoian- Reporter

  1. Don’t be afraid to put pressure on your college to give you information – you pay to go there! On a related note, the freedom and sanctity of the press and the importance of the First Amendment were repeated throughout the conference.
  2. Be confident and speak up! Especially if you’re a woman. One of the keynote speakers expressed her fear that an idea may seem too obvious or too dumb, when it’s usually not that way at all. In the same vein, ask questions (in any context), even if they sound stupid because they’re probably not. Joanne Lipman’s story of how she was hired for the Wall Street Journal really impressed me.
  3. Say “yes” to everything, a point Ann Shoket made in her keynote. She encouraged young people to “get a job, any job” and to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself – even if you’re scared, advice I considered really important to all people our age and especially student reporters.
  4. Networking is not that scary – it depends how you think of it. People have to know you to hire you for something, and by making yourself known, you’re letting them consider you a possible candidate for an internship or job.
  5. The Beacon is a high-quality newspaper. Can this be a takeaway? Is it bragging? I don’t really care because after hearing about and talking to people from other newspapers, I think it is.

Hannah Sievert- Reporter/Copy Editor

  1. Be aware of fake news.  I went to a session about fake news and how to identify it, called “Fake News in the Age of Trump.”  I took away from this that in this age we need to be aware of what news we are reading, if the news is legitimate, and the amount of fake news that is now on the internet.  The woman speaking recommended use of newsliteracyproject.org.  She also said we should be teaching students in middle and elementary school about how to read news and recognize fake news to help the problem of fake news in our society today.
  2. Mara Schiavocampo (ABC News) taught me that it’s important to build a network while in journalism.  She suggested to be yourself and be persistent in building relationships with others.  I took away from her that building a network comes from being consistent in reaching out to the person, every three months or so.  IMG_7363
  3. I went to a session on feature writing, and I took away that it’s important to be passionate, motivated, and interested when being a writer, and your basic mission as a news writer is to be a storyteller.  At the session, I took away that when feature writing, start the story by focusing on a person, scene or event that illustrates the main point of a story.  The lead should go from specific to general, and the ending should refer back to the lead.  My favorite thing the speaker said was, “Don’t lead a story with a quote unless it’s from God.”  He recommended that you give readers a sense of place from the very beginning with writing a feature piece, which comes from taking a small thing about the person that gives a sense of place. The feature writing session also taught me a lot about how to get freelance magazine assignments.  The speaker said to start small, and know the voice of the magazine thoroughly.  He recommended that you “come up with the best idea you’ve ever had” when thinking of what to submit to a magazine.  I also took away some good examples of feature writing, like “The Young Man, The Myth, The Legend,” by Wright Thomson.
  4. One of my sessions about multimedia was taught by a woman who was getting her PhD in multimedia, and she said that the written word part of a story is often the last thing people look at when looking at a story.  An audience first looks at the photography and media, and then reads.  She said to treat photography, multimedia, and visuals that accompany a story as equal importance to the writing of it. She also said the layout was important to having a person keep reading.
  5. Ann Shoket and Joanne Lipman spoke about the importance of getting a job when you’re young, learning how an office works, and learning how to run and be a part of a real business meeting.  They said you should initially not get hung up on a 1st job, but it’s important to get any job in the industry that you want to be at out of college.  She also said that she sees a lot of women and young people being in meetings sitting off to the side, thinking their opinion doesn’t count and not saying much.  She said it’s important to sit at the table in a meeting, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind.  She said “force yourself” to speak up, even if it’s not your personality.

Annika Gordon- Multimedia Editor

  1. Networking is about forming and keeping up RELATIONSHIPS.
  2. Twitter is a super important tool for all journalism (including photojournalism) and I NEED to make one.
  3. I need to go into a situation with the mindset to take video AND photos.
  4. Use jpeg instead of raw format if you’re somewhere where things are happening pretty fast because this format, while of slightly poorer quality, is faster.
  5. When you have a job interview, make sure you have a war story to talk about, a challenge that you overcame.


Speaking of networking… One of the joys of advising student media is connecting current students with former Beacon staffers. In New York, we met up with Kate Stringer, a 2014 grad living in New York and working as a reporter/producer for The 74, an online publication focused on education issues.Thanks Kate for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with us!


Former Beacon reporter and Living Editor Kate Stringer (’14) holds current Beacon staffers in rapt attention with her tales of working and living in New York as a young journalist.

Throwback: March 2013 as then-Beacon reporter Kate Stringer was serenaded by a singing waiter in New York during The Beacon’s trip to the College Media Association conference,


The Beacon bond stretches across generations.

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The Beacon’s transition from a weekly newspaper to an all digital 24/7 news outlet has turned into a model that student media organizations at other colleges and universities apparently are watching. CMA invited The Beacon to lead a session on the subject at the New York conference.

Beacon adviser Nancy Copic leading “Diving into Digital” session.

Malika, Clare and I worked as a team in telling our counterparts from other schools how we changed our approach to our work, overhauled our workflow and implemented rolling deadlines, incorporated multimedia and inforgraphics in our storytelling and how we use analytics as a motivator.

Beacon Editor-in-Chief Malika Andrews talks about the transition from weekly newspaper to all-digital campus news outlet.

Clare new york download 1

Managing Editor Clare Duffy describes the big change in Beacon workflow since going all-digital.

The Beacon’s Dynamic Duo

Watching Clare and Malika, I felt nothing but pride at their leadership over the past year and their professionalism during the session itself. Throughout the rest of the conference, we were all approached with positive feedback and questions about how we do what we do. Because Malika is also headed to the New York Times to be a James Reston Fellow after graduation, she was also asked to be on a panel about successfully moving from college media into the professional world. She was the talk of the conference after that.

Group text from Beacon photographer Jeff Braccia:

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-Nancy Copic

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Branding, Teamwork & Finding Your Niche

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“Know the power of women in leadership.”

When I first learned about this conference, and started planning to go, I expected the learning to happen within the confines of the conference. I had no idea that I would spend the whole week learning, in the conference and throughout the whole grid that is Manhattan. 

One of the convention’s keynote speakers was Mara Schiavocampo of Good Morning America. Mara spoke on the importance of branding and networking, what its like to be a woman of color doing journalism in 2017, her experiences and she gave her advice. I was engaged throughout her entire talk, and the Q&A that followed, but I was most impressed by her point about personal branding. When pinpointing one’s own personal brand, when asking the question “What is my brand?”, she said “Be yourself,” and encouraged to be forthcoming, be authentic and be genuine. According to Schiavocampo, you can usually decipher someone’s brand by giving their social media accounts a quick glance. This was thought provoking for me, I wondered about my brand, and asked my fellow Beaconites what they perceived my brand to be not long after the session had ended. She gave her extensive knowledge of Beyonce as an example. When she spoke about finding a niche, she reminded us that “What you do most is what you’ll do best,” and encouraged us to find a balance between our genuine interests and our career goals.


My notes from Mara Schiavocampo’s key note speech

My takeaway: Be yourself. Do it consistently and in a way you’re proud of.

One of my favorite sessions was led by Michael Koretzky, of the SPJ Board of Directors. He led a two session theory entitled “Editor-in-Grief” part one called “Rule with an iron fist, wear a velvet glove” and part two was called “10 secrets of very sexy editors.” Koretzky gave leaders tips, tricks and strategies for managing a staff and running a productive publication. Throughout all of this lessons, team work was emphasized. I think this is important in any group, but especially at The Beacon. On this trip, in our free time we had the opportunity to explore Manhattan as a team and really grow in our relationships and bond. We explored Times Square (twice), we ventured downtown to NEMO karaoke, we waited in line and saw a live taping of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”, we survived Blizzard Stella. I think one of the reasons we are so productive at The Beacon is because we really are a strong team.

Having a niche was emphasized almost as much as networking and branding were, throughout the conference. It was mentioned in Mara’s speech, in panel “Making it there” that featured The Beacon’s very own, Malika Andrews, and in other sessions. It also came up when I was having lunch with LGBT national reporter for Buzzfeed, Dominic Holden. Although I’m not sure whether or not I would like to make LGBT news my niche, it is his, so we talked about it. He discouraged me from limiting myself to only LGBT news, because he said that Buzzfeed is one of the few publications that prioritizes LGBT news enough to have a person be solely devoted to it’s coverage. He encouraged me to make LGBT news one of four or five beats that I am very knowledgable about, and to go from there.


-Olivia Sanchez-

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The Beacon staff in New York Times Square

This was not my first time to New York but after this experience I realized how much I love the city.  Upon arrival and going out the first night with the Beacon staff members and seeing Times Square, I saw once again the magical and breathtaking city. Throughout the trip, I realized how much I love the city, and someday I may want to live there.

Keep doing what you love

Mara Schiavavocampo a keynote speaker talks about the power of networking

One thing I consistently heard while asking speakers how did they get to the job now, was that they continued to keep doing what they loved. They took interesting job paths to get where they are now.  The common theme was to keep doing what you love and want to do like reporting because the more experience you have and people you know, the more opportunities you get. The key is to not give up and to keep networkin. You never know who might tell you about an amazing job offer.

Learn from those you work with

Malika Andrews talks about The Beacon going all digital

I knew I worked for an incredible group of people working for the Beacon before this trip. This trip helped to affirm that though and I realized how lucky I am. The Beacon led one session about going entirely digital. In this session, I could see how The Beacon is on the cutting edge of college news as a completely digital news source and how it allows The Beacon to do more digitally and cover breaking news in a whole new way. In another session entitled “Making It There (New York, New York),”  Malika Andrews, The Beacon’s editor-in-chief, spoke about her Beacon experience and other experiences that led her to get a fellowship with the New York Times. Getting with Malika and everyone on The Beacon staff is great and in these few months left with the seniors I will try to learn as much as I can from them. -Jeffrey Braccia, Beacon photographer

Malika Andrews talks about her experience to getting a fellowship with The New York Times


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Meeting Who I want to be when I grow up

Todd Maisel

One of my favorite sessions was “Surviving Photojournalism – Becoming a Swiss Army Knife of Media.” It was here that I met Todd Maisel or who I want to be when I grow up. He is an incredible photojournalist for New York Daily News. He showed photos he took during the events of 9/11  and while showing these photos he told stories of how he saved people and continued shooting photos. In doing this, he emphasized the importance of capturing photos but also paying attention to surroundings and how he could not just stand and take photos but also had to help people too. He then went on to show how switching between taking stills and video could have a powerful impact on a story, especially on a digital site.

Todd Maisel 9/11 photo


CBS News Tour with a starstruck moment

CBS News room

I got to tour CBS News. I got to see the CBS newsroom where the anchor reads the nightly news.  I then got to see the studio and producer’s offices of one of the most successful TV shows in history: 60 Minutes. I got to see where they produce the show and where they run through the tape and make edits to it before it is officially shown.  I also got to briefly see Bill Whitaker, who said hello and introduced himself to the tour group which was a bit of a starstruck moment.

me in front of the 60 Minutes main office

In these experiences and many others, I got to see what it is like to work for a big news company and how exciting it can be covering news on a large scale, and learn about possible future career paths. I also got to meet and connect with great people in this industry who I will continue to keep in touch with.

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Me, trying to keep my cool at Buzzfeed.

I first followed Dominic Holden on Twitter in the early hours of June 12, 2016 when @buzzfeednews tweeted, suggesting that those who wanted updates on the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando, Florida, follow him.

When Omar Mateen killed 49 people in the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, I was only 187 miles south. And despite it being the middle of the night, I was awake.

After I read the words BREAKING and SHOOTER, I climbed off the sticky, deflating air mattress that I was sharing with my sister, and found myself sitting on the piano bench in the dark living room. I clicked follow and spent the remaining hours until my family woke up reading everything I could about the tragedy that took place in Orlando that morning.

Dominic Holden is the national LGBT reporter for Buzzfeed News. He is based in New York.

I have been following Dominic’s work for the past nine months. When I first followed him on Twitter I had already been hired by The Beacon, but I did not yet know that I wanted to be a journalist.

Two weeks ago, I entered a media tours lottery for the fast approaching College Media Association spring convention. I clicked the boxes for The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Buzzfeed. I was one of twenty students who got to go to Buzzfeed. I was so excited and overwhelmed and busy in the days leading up to the conference and tour that reaching out to Dominic before the tour did not occur to me until the morning of.

Two hours before I was supposed to be walking through the gates of heaven, oh wait, I mean walking through the doors of Buzzfeed, I DM’d Dominic on Twitter. I asked myself “What’s the worst that could happen?” And clicked send.


This is the view from the 16th floor of Buzzfeed NY. (My jaw dropped, too.)

He responded, told me where his desk was, and said he would be glad to talk to me.

After the tour of Buzzfeed’s incredible, 16 story New York office, I was introduced to him in the cafeteria, which they call The Canteen. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking, but I smiled and shook his hand and he invited me to stay for lunch.


Me, after the tour Q&A with Buzzfeed video producer Matt Ford, during which I raised my hand about 12 times.

Just be yourself.

My stream of consciousness from those few minutes looked something like this: I’m wearing heels, what if I fall? Don’t spill. Don’t fall. Don’t forget all the questions you want to ask him. Don’t look nervous. Wow, this place is so cool. I want to work somewhere where they give you free Mexican food. Compliment her purple hair but don’t stare. Don’t trip. Don’t spill. Act natural. Wow, I really want to work here. What do I have to do to get them to hire me? Why is everyone wearing jeans? Can they tell that I am freaking out? Don’t fall. Don’t spill. Don’t stare.

Dominic noticed that I was looking confused and told me I could sit wherever I wanted. Great, I’ll go clear myself a spot at the breaking news desk, I thought. But then realized he meant for lunch, and I found a table for two in the middle of the room near a window, and sat down.

After a few minutes, I settled down.

In 2016, Dominic won the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association. His niche is LGBT news. He’s reported on so many important LGBT stories including Gavin Grimm, the Pulse Nightclub Shooting and North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill. He wakes up at 6:30 a.m. and checks Twitter from bed. He makes his own ranch dressing and when lunch at the office isn’t catered (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) he brings a turkey sandwich and Doritos. He’s from Seattle but he loves New York. Before he was hired by Buzzfeed he was the news and managing editor at The Stranger, a weekly arts and culture newspaper in Seattle. He didn’t graduate from high school and he doesn’t have a G.E.D.. Before he became a journalist, he was a drug activist and campaigned for the legalization of marijuana. He’s turning 40 this spring. He likes his job.

He patiently answered all my questions, and surprised me by asking quite a few back.

After I finished telling him about the story I wrote for National Coming Out Day and the ways I hoped it would be thought provoking and impactful on our small, Catholic campus, he asked me, “Do you want to be a journalist or an activist?” I paused then said, “A journalist.”

We talked about the difficulties of reporting on social issues in a neutral way. He said he finds it difficult to report on some issues as if they are two sided, when one side clearly neglects human rights. But it’s his job to cover them neutrally, so he does. “Do you want to be a neutral journalist?” he asked me. I thought for a moment, and told him, “I don’t want to be a neutral person, but I want to be a neutral journalist.” I explained how important it is to me to cover things that matter and provide neutral, but thought provoking coverage that may challenge problematic ideology by presenting facts and truth.

According to their website, “BuzzFeed is the leading independent digital media and tech company delivering news and entertainment content to a global audience.” The company has 18 offices worldwide and the New York office is in the process of constructing a rooftop workspace. When I visited, most people were wearing jeans. The energy was positive and productive. When it came time for me to leave, I didn’t want to. I was left wanting more. I learned and left inspired.

I only spent a few hours at Buzzfeed, but I haven’t stopped talking about it since I walked out of the building.

I only got to go on this tour because of the media tours facet of the College Media Association spring convention. This was absolutely the best part of the conference and trip for me because in the time I spent at Buzzfeed, and since then, I have realized what my goals are, I have been totally reinspired to pursue them.


-Olivia Sanchez-


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I learned a lot at the College Media Association. I would be worried if I hadn’t. But here’s the thing—I wasn’t expecting to do a little teaching of my own while I was in New York City. And I did just that in addition to learning.

I went to a session about making your college newspaper go all digital and, unlike the other sessions, the faces leading this one were familiar. The Beacon was doing the teaching at this session and it was evident that we were doing it well because the young journalists in the audience were engaged and had lots of questions.

The Beacon’s very own Malika Andrews and Clare Duffy leading one of the sessions at CMA.

During the tour I took of Bloomberg News, I became friends with a student from PLU. After the tour had ended, I decided I wanted to go see Grand Central Station and he decided to tag along. When we found Grand Central Station, we both whipped out our cameras and began shooting.

After a few clicks from our cameras, he asked me why his photos were turning out too dark. So, I taught him how to properly use his camera—how to use the manual setting to get shutter speed, aperture, and ISO just right. Suddenly, I was the teacher! And it was exciting to be one! I was helping others learn!

The resulting image of Grand Central Station.

I’m on a plane now heading back to Portland. I was sad to leave New York City—it’s true that a tear or two were shed—but I’m also ready to bring back what I’ve learned to The Beacon. I’m ready to do some more learning, but I’m also ready to do some teaching.

Annika Gordon

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When thinking about the highlight of this trip, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what stood out. I got to attend a conference in New York City, see the Fearless Girl before it is taken down, tour Democracy Now and watch a live broadcast, meet Mara Schiavocampo and Amy Goodman, see Trevor Noah, experience a blizzard and so many more to mention!

Although some of the workshops did not appeal to me, many stood out and gave me a piece of journalistic knowledge to bring back to Portland. Mara Schiavocampo’s keynotes speech inspired me to build relationships and meet as many people as I can. Amy Goodman showed me the fierceness and power of a journalist. Ultimately, this learning experience is something I will take with me wherever life leads me today, tomorrow and onto the future. And because it is difficult to express how I feel about this experience, here’s a short clip I made of our trip.

-Rachel Ramirez

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Rachel Rippetoe|

Nancy Copic, Beacon lord and savior, waited in line for SIX HOURS so that we could all see a live taping of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. She’s an advisor rock star.

I asked Trevor Noah a question and he answered it.

Was it the highlight of my New York trip? I don’t want to say that. I came to watch a team of budding Beacon journalists find new ways to challenge themselves and improve, and to learn how to lead a staff in a way I never have before, so if I say making Trevor Noah (beautiful human, light of my life) laugh at a live taping of his Comedy Central show “The Daily Show” was the highlight of my trip (or possibly my life?) I think I’d be cheating myself out of the other wonderful lessons I learned at this year’s conference.

But I raised my hand very high and he pointed at me and I asked a question. He answered it in front of a live audience and everyone laughed and it made me very very happy, but more importantly it made me proud of myself. I’ve changed in a lot of ways since working for The Beacon, but one of the best outcomes of my time as an editor and reporter has been my growing confidence to raise my hand and ask a question.

This is pre-show, pre-question. We were having a pretty fabulous time. You can find Hannah Sievert and Dora in the far left corner behind Nancy, Jeff and Annika. From left to right at the bottom: Olivia, myself and Rachel Ramirez.

It’s the most quintessential aspect of being a journalist. It seems simple enough, but if you’ve struggled with confidence in general like I have, it can be the hardest thing in the world. For me, interviewing has always been pretty easy. There are aspects I’ve had to become aware of and improve upon, but the social part of sitting down alone with someone and asking them questions for a specific purpose has never been a difficult thing for me. It’s when you’re in a crowded room and someone is at the center and you need to ask them a question while everyone else is listening and watching and waiting for their turn. That’s when my heart starts racing and the words just don’t come out. I think of five different questions in my head and I dismiss them all as stupid. I say to myself that everybody in the room already knows the answer and they’ll scoff at me for even asking. But working towards a career in journalism has taught me that if I’m wondering about something, it’s likely that someone else in the room is too, and in many ways, it’s my job to ask the simple, “stupid” questions. So just recently, I’ve started raising my hand. I raise it during talks, panels, sessions. I raised it at my tour of Democracy Now! so many times I could feel the eye rolls I was prompting from the back of the room, but I didn’t care. The miraculous thing is that I got called on, and often times my questions weren’t stupid at all.

Though I have been shut down and scoffed at. At a talk about solutions journalism the night before we headed out for New York, I asked a question that did not receive a real answer, rather a resounding “Just be a journalist, do your job, duh.” It didn’t feel great, but it didn’t stop me from asking questions.

So there I was, sitting in an audience of visitors and New Yorkers in Trevor Noah’s studio, running on four hours of sleep and not nearly enough coffee, but with a burning question in my brain. I was the final question. I asked, he answered, laughter ensued. It was a great time. But I also hope that the staffers behind me, still young and learning, know that the confidence to raise your hand doesn’t come naturally to me, or a lot of the journalists you see in press rooms or events. It comes from time, a lot of mental pep talks and a lot of rejection (in which you discover that the worst thing that can happen when you ask a “stupid” question isn’t really all that bad).

It might be silly, but getting called on by my future husband Trevor Noah is a great way to show the rewards of a maybe not-so-confidant person putting themselves out there. We had a beautiful connection and later I got to watch him drop his pants to show a blue pair of undies. What a beautiful reward.

So ask that stupid question, girl (or boy)! See where it takes you.


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In case you haven’t heard, I toured the Wall Street Journal a few days ago.  You might have heard because I’ve been telling everyone who will listen: my parents, co-workers, New York strangers, the man who made my sandwich yesterday.  I told my dad this morning, “I think I peaked when I toured the Wall Street Journal.  How can my life get better than that?”

He told me life will be even better when I get a job at the Wall Street Journal, to which I agreed.  Working at the Wall Street Journal, I learned, would be a dream job.  The office is beautiful, the people are interesting and smart, and the job is fast-pased and engaging.

Wall of Pulitzer Prizes at the Wall Street Journal

A tour guide took a group of 15 of us from the conference around the floors of the Wall Street Journal.  We saw the floor where the reporters write and the separate editor’s floor.  The workplace mostly consists of desks where hurried looking workers face two or three computer screens.  Almost all of the screens, I noticed as I passed by, were open to financial spreadsheets or the Wall Street Journal front page.  TV screens faced all of the employees displaying the breaking news of the day.

What struck me most were the stacks of books everywhere.  There were bookshelves on every floor with books about finance, grammar, and travel.  It was obvious–being well-informed is necessary when you work for the Wall Street Journal.  I took a mental note as we continued on–read more, of everything.

Stack of books in the Wall Street Journal

We were lucky to talk for almost an hour with an editor of the Journal.  His name was Andrew Lavallee, and he is the Deputy Bureau Chief at the Wall Street Journal.  It was an honor to talk for him for so long.  A few tips he gave us that I noted:

  • Have a niche.  Lavallee’s niche had always been technology writing, so he entered the Wall Street Journal with a good understanding of technology, which became his beat.  He said find your niche, whatever you’re most interested in, and pursue it, whether it be environmental writing, educational policy writing, culture writing, etc.
  • Read the Journal if you want to work there.  He said one of his biggest mistakes was interviewing for the Journal and admitting that he didn’t really read it.  Lavallee was amazed he had still gotten the job.  He advised: wherever you interview, know their stuff, know the voice they have in their writing, and say you read it all the time.
  • Work abroad sometime in your life.  Lavallee was the Hong Kong correspondent for the Wall Street Journal for a few years, and he said the experience changed his life.  He said it was interesting and grew him as a person to live in another country with a very different culture.
  • You don’t need a graduate degree, but it helps.  Lavallee got his graduate degree in journalism from Columbia, so I asked him if he thought a graduate degree was necessary for the field of journalism.  He said it really wasn’t if you have good journalism connections already, but that graduate school had taught him a lot that he uses in his daily work life.
  • There are jobs in the field of journalism.  I asked him what he thought about the future of journalism; some people discourage younger people from going into the field because of the changing field.  But Lavallee pointed out that there will always be jobs in information consumption, and that information consumption seems to be growing.  He said there will be jobs 5 years from now that we can’t predict right now–like how the social media job at the Journal wasn’t a job 5 years previously, but is now one of the biggest jobs there.
  • Know your way around a camera and a spreadsheet.  Lavallee said to be a good journalist, you should be able to read spreadsheets, because you’re looking at a lot of data in general.  He recommended taking an economics or accounting class.  He also said it helps to have basic photography skills for when you run out to get a story, and need a picture to accompany it.
  • Read.  The Wall Street Journal, like I said, has stacks of books on every floor.  Lavallee recommended having a good news diet to be a good journalist, but also read books about economics and current events.
  • It can help to know other languages.  Lavallee said there were many stories he couldn’t do because he didn’t know Spanish or another language.  To be a foreign correspondent, you have to know the language of that country to interview there.

I learned so much at the Wall Street Journal, and it was amazing to see inside the iconic company.  Hopefully, I will be back someday!

-Hannah Sievert

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