What are some
positive and negative aspects about being a
I'll give you the bad news first: The downside,
typically, is mediocre pay and long hours, but the long hours, if they're your choice, you can deal
with. But when you put in long hours because your bosses put unrealistic demands on you, or simply
try to exploit a young and upcoming journalist, it can be discouraging. Also, most editors talk a
great game about striving to be the best, delivering the truth and chasing the stories that matter,
but too often marketing ( i. e. penetration levels and single-copy rack sales), take precedence over
the effort to deliver the truth.
Good points: If, like me, you persist amid all
the above, in a number of years you should find yourself in a pretty enviable position - having
a job that actually matters, that helps effect change, that lets you be a watchdog and that allows
you to be the voice for those with no voice. I love my job. And, unlike most so-called veterans, I
would recommend it to anyone who cares about truth, fairness and justice. This can be an
overwhelmingly satisfying job - I have written stories that were, in part, responsible for putting
criminals behind bars, ousting crooked public officials from office and freeing wrongly
accused murderers. How many other careers offer excitement like
What high school courses did you take? Are there any
Take all the language and literature courses you can,
and, even if you hate it, take history. Some of the best writers out there are great historians -
having a wealth of knowledge to help put current events into historical context is invaluable.
Journalism courses, if available are fine, too, but will do little to help you land in a good
college or get a job later.
How difficult or easy was it to
get the job of your choice?
The job I have now is the closest
thing to "the job of my choice. " It's been a long road, one at times that I
thought was taking too long, but in retrospect, I think I arrived here within a reasonable time
given my talent and work ethic.
In a few years, what do you
think the job market for aspiring journalists will be like?
Internet expanding almost exponentially, I think there should be plenty of jobs for willing and
capable journalists. I hope the most talented folks go online, so I can move up faster in the print
business, which I love.
What colleges do you recommend for
strong programs inj ournalism and communication?
The University of
Missouri; University of Florida, Gainesville; and Columbia University. And, though I'm not too
familiar with the West Coast, you may want to check out UCLA and
Is there any advice or final comments you
would like to give me?
If you've ever thought about entering politics,
but were discouraged by what seems to be the inevitable corruption that takes place, become
a journalist. Our goals are similar: serve the people and better our community. Journalists,
however, rarely face the ethical dilemmas that politicians do - the money's just not
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.