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Journalist Louis Rom MAG
What are some positive and negative aspects about being a journalist?
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 that?
What high school courses did you take? Are there any you recommend?
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?
With the 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 Stanford, too.
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 there.