Over the course of this week, I have corresponded with five professional individuals in journalism about informational interviews, have scheduled two, and am in the process of scheduling the other three. I am finding that my professional communications skills get better with each encounter, and I hope that my interview skills will follow suit with each subsequent interview. My first six-weeks marking period in ISM has been a great start to my journalism experience, as I have acquired many important lessons in professionalism. Through my interview experience as well as in-class aid, I have learned how to effectively communicate with professionals, conduct interviews, manage my time, and create a professional résumé.
However, I would still like to gain more insight on topics specific to journalism, such as the inner workings of print and online journalism, how writing about different types of stories affects the way a journalist approaches it, and the many career paths that one can take to become a journalist.
Moving into the coming weeks, I will be focusing on conducting successful interviews and absorbing as much new information as possible. My growing network of contacts and my consistently expanding knowledge of the journalism field will be instrumental to my success in ISM, so building these will be my primary focus in the near future. I am growing increasingly comfortable in the professional world, and I look forward to more experience in it.
“Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question.” – C.B. Dealy
This quote was engraved in the stone front of the Dallas Morning News building, towering above my head as I craned my neck to look at it this past Friday morning. As I walked in for my first informational interview, I did not know what to expect. Walking out of it, I felt like my entire view on the journalism industry had been shaken. This week, in my first ever informational interview, I gained extremely valuable knowledge from a very knowledgable professional. Many of my assumptions about the journalism field were debunked, and many of my questions were answered; I now feel as though I have a sense of direction in the vast journalism field.
For example, I was given the advice that if you want to be a journalist, don’t major in journalism, major in what you want to write about. This thought never even crossed my mind before it was presented to me, but it does make perfect sense. Wouldn’t it help more to be educated in the subjects you will be writing about rather than in how to write them? Additionally, I got some insight as to the differences between broadcast and print journalism from somebody who has experience in both fields. With this new knowledge and professional interview experience, I feel notably more confident taking further steps in my journalism study. With a new sense of direction and intention, I am looking forward to conducting more interviews and expanding my knowledge of the field even further.
What do I want to do with my life?
This question occupied much of the space in my mind as I built my first list of professional contacts this week. There is a seemingly endless mass of different jobs in the journalism world, each of them entailing different duties and qualities. If I am to find the perfect job for me, I must start by narrowing down my search. There are so many valuable resources in the DFW area for me as a student that I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but I figured that compiling contacts from multiple platforms of journalism was a promising place to begin; gaining experience in as many areas of journalism as I can-magazine and newspaper writing, online writing, and even broadcast journalism- is the factor that I believe will be most beneficial in my growth from this program.
This week, I learned that I don’t need to know exactly what job I want to hold, which company I want to work at, and how long I want to work there just yet. Right now, it is all about gaining professional experience and exposure to the journalism field so that I can figure all of that out later on. My journey in ISM is not about getting my dream job while still in high school, but it is about figuring out what I may want that dream job to be. I am eager to see what valuable knowledge my mentor search and continued research in ISM will bring in the coming weeks.