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”