I remember earning my journalism degree and thinking I was ready for my dream job as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times or the Orange County Register. That was several dream jobs and more than 20 years ago.
Which is to say you never know when or where your career in journalism will lead you. New media professor Mindy McAdams has some good advice for young journalists who will be looking for work before they know it: Think of that first job as the stepping stone to the job you really want.
"If you see the kind of job you would like to have, then make sure your first job will serve as good preparation for that future job," she writes in her online journalism blog.
With all that's happening online, this is one of the most exciting times ever to be getting into journalism. Sure the media is going through some tough times now, but that will change.
As always, young journalists should be looking for any way they can to get their foot in the door, whether it's an internship or a part-time/freelance reporting gig. Think twice about holding out for the the next opportunity to come your way. As McAdams points out:
"That first two years might be tough — long hours and low pay, just like you’ve been told all along. But I believe there is still light at the end of the tunnel for young journalists who pay their dues (just like always) and acquire a flexible skill set.** For even more good information/inspiration on getting ahead, see this blog post on "Everyday Journalism" by Suzanne Yada.
"Read those job ads, and make note of what the jobs you really want are asking for."
** Also see the great advice in "Top 10 List of Tips for Journalism Students" by Greg Linch.
(Photo credit: "Me & My Powerbook" by Brian "DoctaBu" Moore, courtesy of Flickr.com)