August 1st, 2008 • Quill Archives
Career: Degrees should serve some life skills on the side
How should journalism faculty prepare students for the ever-changing future of the journalism industry? That was a rhetorical question during an e-mail exchange I had with a journalist who had been downsized twice — once from a reporting gig and once from a government job.
OK, I admit it: I’m a pretty huge fan of pageants. I participated in pageants for years, and even won a crown. Although I don’t catch every national pageant aired on television these days, I still see the value of pageants.
I am happy,” the dying husband and father of three said. A $200,000-plus mortgage eliminated. College funds established for three young daughters. A brand new Ford truck. “Remember when” memories that will last for years to come. “Oprah’s Big Give” contestants — with a heavy dose of star power — also gave a man the priceless gift of peace of mind.
I visit Starbucks maybe once a month, if that. I usually use a gift card, because shelling out $3 to $5 on a cup of specialty coffee isn’t my cup of tea. If anything, Starbucks is a meeting place for me.
Ah, change: It’s a beautiful thing. Well, that’s one point of view. Another is that change can be scary. Even closer to the truth, regardless of your perspective, is that change is inevitable. Some journalists have been around long enough to witness the evolution of media: from newspapers and typewriters to radio and television to computers and Web sites.
If your newsroom is shrinking, this is the time to pour more resources into helping your staff become the best they can be. And, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Understanding staff needs is the first step in creating a staff-development program.
Hilary Rodham Clinton. John Edwards. Rudy Giuliani. John McCain. Barack Obama. Bill Richardson. Mitt Romney. Fred Thompson. So many choices. Honesty. Integrity. Knowledge. Wisdom. Experience. Intelligence. Leadership. Strength. Prosperity. Family dynamics. Health. Such high standards. As journalists, we are charged with exploring the issues and the candidates, revealing to voters the candidates’ stances on the issues and who they are as individuals and leaders.
Academic fraud in the men’s basketball program. The unseen world of cancer survivors. Limited ambulance service in low-income areas. The topics can be explored in Anytown USA. And they’ll give readers information that illuminates the world around them. And guess what?
You’re out of a job and overwhelmed by the job search process. Don’t worry, there’s hope. The feelings of being pressured to find a job and being overwhelmed with the job search can be shared by veterans and newcomers alike. Veterans may be wondering what they can possibly do after spending a career in journalism, while newcomers are hunting for their first big break.
One really cannot escape the reality: Newspaper and magazine industries are shrinking. Layoffs and buyouts are frequent occurrences. We see it in headlines, coast to coast. We hear from colleagues. Sometimes, we experience it ourselves. So, what if you are presented a pink slip?
Curtis Carlson and William Wilmot of SRI International know a thing or two about innovation. SRI’s innovations touch our lives every day. Among them: * The computer mouse. * High-definition television. * The numbers at the bottom of your check that let your bank to keep your account balance accurate.
OK, I’ll admit it: I procrastinate sometimes. My column is late. Part of it I blame on the fact that my DSL in my home office was down for two days. But in truth I could have started on writing it a few days earlier, instead of the day before it was due and the day I discovered my DSL decided to go on vacation.
November 2006 marked the deaths of two journalistic giants whose careers should teach us much about journalism and diversity. I speak of Gerald Boyd, former managing editor of The New York Times, and Ed Bradley, correspondent with CBS News magazine show “60 Minutes.”
Few things excite me like the chance to teach about turning dreams into reality. Add the opportunity to talk one on one with dreamers, and I have the makings of a perfect day. I had the chance to do both at the recent SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Chicago.
September 1st, 2006 • Quill Archives
Work now to paint a rosey financial picture for the future
How’s your money, honey? That question may cause you to cringe and cry, or it may give you a confident smile. For those who cringe and cry, it’s time to start painting a new financial picture that keeps the future in mind.
August 1st, 2006 • Quill Archives
Formal mentoring program great for developing staff
Learning. Growing. Fewer Mistakes. Career Development at warp speed. That’s what mentoring can do for your career. This may not be the mentoring you’re familiar with, where the mentor adopts a mentee gradually over time. No, this mentoring is more formal in nature, linking virtual strangers with a mutual agreement to learn and grow.
What is your measure of success? Is it the amount of money in your checking or savings account? The square footage of your home? The number of awards you’ve won for a job well done? Maybe it’s landing at one of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers or networks, or the pursuit of the Pulitzer that captures your heart.
Today, you’ve been assigned a new beat at your newspaper. You don’t have the expertise, and you have less time than you imagined to master it. Or perhaps, you’ve landed in a new city on a new beat, and you have to get up to speed yesterday.
You’ve seen the television miracles. Once fat, now slim. Once an ugly duckling, now a swan. Makeovers abound in primetime and even daytime. Our industry is also facing a makeover, trying to spruce up its image to court the person who seems to have more fascinating distractions.
Curiosity and courage, I said, are essential characteristics for being a great journalist and producing great journalism. That comment apparently struck two aspiring journalists because they approached me following a recent panel discussion about diversity at Colorado State University. They wanted more.
Today your life could change dramatically. * Your spouse or significant other decides life without you is better than life with you. * Your child, your parent or perhaps even you discover a terminal illness has invaded your body. * You lose your job where you’ve worked a minimum of 50 hours per week for the last five, 10, 15 or 20 years.
You may never desire to be a manager, but you still have to manage. Your perspective changes depending on where you sit in the organizational chart. If you’re in the lower part of the organizational chart, you may think you have to manage only yourself.
We’ve read it all before. The more you learn, the more you earn. High school graduates earn more than those who drop out of school. College grads have higher salaries than those who have only a high school education. Those with graduate degrees often out-earn those with a bachelor’s degree.
Four. Five. Maybe even Six. The number of years it took to earn your ticket to the big time. You’ve donned your cap and gown and celebrated. Now, it’s time to take life more seriously. Your parents warn you that soon you will be responsible for your own livelihood.
Sometimes what we do is no fun. We cover devastation, the horrors of war and tragedy simply because we must. We record history. We tell the stories of life and of death. As journalists, that’s what we are called to do.
From time to time, this column will feature your questions about professional development. I will strive to answer your questions fully before publication in this space. Thanks to all who have offered questions and, to others, keep them coming. Before tackling the questions posed to me, ethics is the theme for this issue, and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to discuss ethics and highlight the excellent staff at Poynter Institute.
Technology, just like time, can be a friend or a foe, depending on how you treat it. No doubt, technology has been good to journalism. From typewriters to computers, from encyclopedias to the World Wide Web and from film to digital, we have seen marvelous changes the past few decades in how we work.
It’s the new year, and you might have resolved to change some things in 2005. By March, you may have given up on the whole thing. Just like every other year. Why is that we always start off with the best of intentions, but soon forget our resolve?