The instructor and students of Print Journalism II visited the Statesman Journal on Oct. 14. During the visit, the students gained insight on the average life of a professional journalist, how to improve their chances of employment in the journalism field, and how a “bigger” newspaper functions.
The students met Dann Miller, head of online content; Amy Reid, online editor; and Anna Staver, political journalist. The students were able to sit in on a meeting and ask the journalists questions after.
“I was amazed to discover how enthusiastic these people were about their jobs,” student journalist Johnathan Partridge said. “They truly had a passion for what they did, and every time they shared a bit of their stories, their eyes would light up and they would speak with a happiness that came from years of rewarding dedication.”
Student journalist Rebekah Peters also said she learned how a career in journalism requires dedication and passion.
“When talking to Anna and Amy, they made me realize that if I truly want to go into journalism, it has to be my whole life,” Peters said. “She [Anna] doesn’t study politics non-stop because it’s her job, but because she loves it.”
The students were then given advice on interviewing sources and finding jobs in journalism.
“Anna mentioned that she begins by telling a story, which allows for discussion and leads much more easily into a conversation where she can ask questions and better direct the conversation,” Peters said.
Student journalist Simon Howard learned that good interviewing comes with being “as conversational and personal as possible; people love to tell stories.”
The idea of passion came up again when the students were told that “boring” candidates were usually less likely to be hired than those who appeared passionate.
“Dann Miller recommended having a passion that you can speak passionately about – or ‘geek out,’ as Reid put it – because employers want people who aren’t boring,” Howard said.
“A boring person, no matter how skillful, will not be hired over a person who shows obvious passion for what they do,” Partridge said.
The students also learned how important it was to be able to learn new things when it comes to being a journalist.
“As industries continually attempt to adapt to new technology, being able and willing to learn and practice those skills is a good habit to develop,” Howard said.
“They said that it was important to be skillful and to have experience, but it was also very important to be able to learn new things,” Partridge said.
Overall, when reflecting on their experiences, the students agreed that they learned quite a lot about journalism and valued the opportunity to visit the Statesman Journal.
“American media has many hearts; these are the places where journalists and media workers convene to ensure that every American receives the news,” Partridge said. “Venturing into one of these hearts, the Statesman Journal, was an incredible experience.”