There are many paths to a journalism job, but sometimes it takes a pro to show you the way.
To help bridge the gap between academe and big city newsrooms, the Deadline Club and the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute brought New York area journalism students together with the people that may one day hire them. Called the Slice ‘n’ Dice career development and resume workshop, the annual program was part of the Deadline Club’s ongoing efforts to support journalism in New York City.
On March 11, at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, 20 Cooper Square, more than 30 students seeking to jump-start their careers had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with hiring managers from some of the best newsrooms in New York. Attendees not only got valuable face time with senior-level professionals, but also got some sage advice on getting a job and keeping up with the times.
“First of all, love what you do,” said Heidi Moore, business editor at Mashable.
Careers in journalism usually start small, in scale and salary, but every editor can agree it’s that passion for the job that gets you to the next level.
Moore encouraged students to read beyond the news: “Reading books – that’s how you learn how to write, and it also gives you historic perspective.”
Gersh Kuntzman, deputy features editor of the New York Daily News, outlined three big pointers on getting a job: don’t be lazy, listen to your editor and actually read and research the outlet you’re interesting in working for.
“It comes down to gumption and moxie,” Kuntzman said. “Try to figure something out.”
Lauren Johnston head of breaking news at Yahoo, says skillful storytelling and composition are sure signs of a winning candidate.
“It’s so important to be a good writer,” she said, “to present a story in a thoughtful way.”
Crystal Johns, director of talent and diversity at CBS News, reminded students that there must be a willingness to accept feedback – at times harsh feedback – in order to improve.
“You have to be thick-skinned,” Johns said. “You have to be able to handle not just the constructive criticism, but the mean criticism.”
Sylvan Solloway, director of career services at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, moderated the discussion between the four panelists, who each met with students to pore over and “dice” up their resumes.
By the end of the program, students who thought they had it all figured out realized they didn’t.
Ilyse Liffreing, a 23-year-old magazine writing major at NYU, said she learned a lot hearing from professionals outside the university setting.
“You go to career counseling – and it helps – but it’s really helpful to hear from people in the business,” she said. “I’m going to redo my entire resume now. And I didn’t think it needed changing!”
Liffreing was grateful for being able to attend the Slice ‘n’ Dice when she did, because it was just days before a series of career fairs planned at city journalism institutions and elsewhere.
Livia Paula, a 20-year-old junior at St. John’s University, said the Slice ‘n’ Dice was “great.”
“I’m interested in features, and (Gersh Kuntzman) really explained what it really is and what I should look for,” she said. “It’s not what the professors usually tell you, and he said it in a way that was really realistic.”
Samantha Allison Miles, a 27-year-old student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, said the Slice ‘n’ Dice provided support that is sometimes hard to get even at an Ivy League institution.
“Resume critiques are what we really need,” she said. “There’s just one adviser across all mediums at Columbia.”
Miles was encouraged by the enthusiasm at the event from both the seasoned pros and fellow students, and she appreciated the smaller scale in comparison to on-campus events.
“Columbia events are usually three to four times this size and it really can be impersonal,” she said. “This was the perfect size.”
The free student-only event, held in previous years at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and Columbia, lasted from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and included free pizza and refreshment courtesy of NYU.
For more information on the Deadline Club and future events visit deadlineclub.org.