“I’ve never met a bored journalist,” Medill School of Journalism professor and former Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Mathewson ’55 often tells students, noting that there are “no dull jobs and no dull days” in the field of journalism. While some people like to claim that journalism is a dying field, Mathewson rightly believes that it is simply evolving, and he wants students to know that journalism needs talented graduates with a passion for writing and a strong liberal arts background.
With a number of grandchildren at the College, Mathewson is a regular visitor to Career Services and a mentor to students currently considering a career in journalism. Here, we’ve compiled Mathewson’s top five tips for students who have a passion for the written word and investigating the world around them.
- Journalism needs intellectually curious young graduates from a variety of academic backgrounds — sell your experience, no matter what it is! Whether you are a history or neuroscience or economics major, journalism needs you.
- Have a blog and credentials you can show people. Nothing speaks to your skills better than a thorough, well-organized set of clips. Make sure you can speak to why your previous experience, regardless of its direct relation to journalism, will help you succeed as a journalist.
- Don’t confine yourself to print. In this day and age, you need to have multiple skills — learn to shoot and edit video, take photographs, blog and manage social media. Wire services in particular are booming.
- Learn how to write about economics. The economy is the number one story around the world right now, and you will be a highly marketable employee if you know how to write about business, employment and interest rates.
- Familiarize yourself with the tricks of the trade — AP style, interview skills, journalistic ethics, etc. Do research for specific job and internship opportunities. If you’re applying for a job with the Associated Press, Bloomberg or Reuters, learn the verbs of attribution in business journalism.
Interested in pursuing job or internship opportunities in journalism? Make sure you’ve signed up on Dartboard to receive our regular blitzes about communications jobs! There are stories out there waiting to be told — are you going to be the one to tell them?