Back into the transitional beyond

Aaron Marineau, Oregon Daily Emerald

This week’s assignment for class was to speak to our internship employer about our performance thus far and to find out if there are any employment opportunities down the road. I haven’t done this yet — I’m meeting with one of the editors later this week — but once again I feel a little uncertain of what my next step will be — a common feeling shared by recent journalism graduates.I’ve put my best foot forward each day, and I’ve tried to treat each moment as an interview for my candidacy. And, I think my employers have noticed, complimenting me often on my work. But, the publication I work for, similar to most publications, made a lot of cutbacks this year, firing a lot of its long-time staff. Every day, my coworkers speak on “how quiet the office is nowadays.” Money is always a big issue at the weekly editorial meetings, too.

So, I sometimes wonder: Would a publication that just fired a number of dependable and experienced journalists hire a 22-year-old recent college grad for full-time work?  I tend to think it would be more of a freelance gig, which would be great experience (I freelance on a weekly basis for the last publication I interred for), but I’m not sure it would be the next best step for my growth as a writer. Plus, as I’ve grown older, money has become a more significant issue, as I now have bills to pay, and freelancers don’t get paid much.

Many of my fellow SOJC classmates who majored in journalism have taken jobs at small town publications; it is now a common belief among recent graduates that it’s necessary to work at small publications before you can move on to big-city papers. If possible, I would like to avoid this step, as my resume now has a lot of big-paper experience. It may be unavoidable, however.  We’ll just have to wait to see.

With all this said, I should say the job-finding process has not frustrated me. When I entered journalism, I understood that the field was in a transitional period and would probably continue to be for a while. I didn’t and still don’t care — the risk has always been worth the reward. If I need to work in Boring, Ore., in order to continue to do what I love, then so be it.

This blog is devoted to the journey of a young journalist, though, so I thought it would be imprudent to not touch on the uncertainty that comes with the territory; it’s something that’s a large part of my life right now.

On a semi unrelated note: In addition to writing, music is also a love of mine, and they often go hand in hand. As I’ve faced the whole concept of “growing up” in recent years — getting a house, paying bills, facing the fear of the uncertain future, etc. —my music and writing have reflected these changes going on, as art often imitates life. I thought it would be pertinent to post a song I helped create — I made the music side (piano, drums, beat) of it and wrote the lyrics together with a vocalist  — while I was trying to find a newspaper job:

“Take Me Home”


About reedjackso2

A 22-year-old journalist who enjoys reporting on the various crimes, concerts and characters that make his hometown of Portland so unique.
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2 Responses to Back into the transitional beyond

  1. pdxsx says:

    Dude, Reed! Awesome post and thanks for sharing the song – I’m glad you are able to do some creative stuff on the side and enjoy some things outside of internships! Well done!


  2. Taylor says:

    Such a great song! I love NW hip hop, and music always gets me through the tough times, too. Also, was that picture you used taken at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art? Because Chris Jordan’s exhibit was up this winter when I was an intern there. Cool stuff! Great post!

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