i-2e5b5cfd3bcb99aac5ab5f746d67aa63-isoj_main.jpg
The ISOJ at University of Texas

It’s an anxious time to be graduating from journalism school. The economy is in the tank and newsrooms are being decimated. But yet, it is also a great time to be a journalist, with more news and information available than ever before and more ways than ever to reach audiences.

At the recent International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, I asked a range of professionals what advice they had for journalism graduates entering the job market.

There was broad agreement that students should leave journalism school being able to work across print, broadcast and online. At the very least, they should understand the new tools available to reporters and be continually learning.

As one professional said, school is just the beginning of learning. At the core is good writing and reporting, regardless of the medium. But to stand out from the crowd, journalism graduates should follow their passions, develop an area of specialization and master that area.

Students should build on what they have learned at J-school by networking with professionals. And now it is easier than ever before to link up with people through networks like Twitter. Someone you connect with on Twitter might end up offering you a job.

When it comes to jobs, students should be open-minded and take every opportunity as you never know where it may lead. That first job may be with a start-up that isn’t specifically in journalism, but the skills you learn may serve you well later.

Advice from the Pros

Beth Frerking, assistant managing editor of Politico.com

Paul Brannan, editor of emerging platforms at the BBC

Rachel Nixon, global news director at NowPublic.com

Sewell Chan, reporter at The New York Times who runs the metro blog, City Room

Janine Warner, digital alchemist at Artisan Media

Jonathan Dube, vice-president of ABCNews.com and president of the Online News Association

Photo courtesy of The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

(Since the interviews were completed, Rachel Nixon has been appointed as the director for digital media for CBC, starting in June.)

Alfred Hermida is an online news pioneer and journalism educator. He is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, the University of British Columbia, where he leads the integrated journalism program. He was a founding news editor of the BBC News website in 1997. He blogs at Reportr.net.