The past two internships I’ve been apart of, I’ve mostly worked with people older than me. I have not noticed a huge difference between the “boomers” or members of “generation X,” however, and I think that has to do with the field I’m apart of: journalism. To succeed in journalism these days, you have to constantly know your audience, which cuts down on the generational gap in the newsroom. For example, my editor, who is in his late 50s, is just as efficient with technology as I am — he has to be to in order for the publication to stay relevant.
In terms of my generation, the millenials, I believe we have a lot to offer. We’re very open-minded multi-taskers who have an eagerness to contribute to something significant. If we become passionate about something — writing, for example — then we will do our best to succeed at it. One disadvantage we bring to the table, though, is our constant need for guidance.
Everyone I know in my age group who is employed wants to do good by their boss; our generation has a huge desire to add to the discussion. But, with this desire comes a need for feedback. We’re so desperate to contribute that we’re constantly seeking approval to make sure we’re doing our work correctly. Without criticism — positive or negative — we tend to feel a little lost.
Specifically for journalists, in order to combat our neediness, there are a few things we have to learn.
First, other staff members already have a lot going on; they can’t watch every step you make and critique it.
Second, there is no training seminar provided by the publication before you start writing. Journalism is a learn-as-you-go type of job — you aren’t taught in school how to interview a drug addict, for example. Eventually, after going into the field and immersing yourself in the story everyday, you’ll get the hang of it.
Third, if your editor isn’t screaming at you about the quality of your work, then everything is fine; newspapers are fast-paced, constantly moving businesses that expect quality output each day. If you aren’t being addressed, then that means your work is matching the quality output.
Of course, it is always good to still ask questions; you want to still learn from your coworkers and soak in as much information as you can. But, being a journalist sometimes requires you to learn out in the field rather than from others in the newsroom.