In the December 2001 issue of Quill, we ran a story about the difficulties finding a job in tough economic times. Sources in the article advised that journalists – particularly those coming right out of school – lower their expectations about the newsroom job they hoped to enter upon graduation. Some even said students should consider taking time off or going to graduate school.
This issue also offers advice for those looking to make career changes. The news is a little less bleak now; the economy is far from a full recovery, but job prospects are certainly more hopeful than they were two years ago. Still, journalists need to be thinking ahead and preparing for the career moves they may want to make. Many of the pieces in this issue offer advice on how to do that.
On Page 8, Jim Kelly writes about the difference between gaining wide experience and job-hopping. Sometimes that difference exists only in the mind of the editor who is doing the hiring, and Kelly – who has been that editor at several papers – tells what to keep in mind when planning career moves. On Page 9, Elizabeth Kelly Klay tells about her own quick career jumps and how she explains the value of her experience in job interviews.
Sometimes career moves are a little more dramatic. On Page 11, Mike McQueen suggests ways to prepare for a move from the newsroom to the classroom. And on Page 12, Jennifer LaFleur writes about her experience in a year-long journalism fellowship. Fellowships and other short-term programs can give journalists a chance to recharge their batteries and learn something new – which can sometimes even lead to a different career path.
The best way to impress future employers is obviously to do good work, and the best way to improve your work is through training. In recent issues, I’ve mentioned JournalismTraining.org, a project SPJ recently completed on behalf of the Council of National Journalism Organizations. On Page 14, read the details of this project and learn how to use it to find valuable training in your area.
With the economy showing signs of improvement, many journalists will start looking around for new career opportunities. The best way to land where you want is to be prepared – and we hope the advice in this issue helps.
Jeff Mohl is the editor of Quill.