Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Leap from College to Working Journalist

By Angel Matos

Reporter Ross Markman of Havre Daily News is profiled in Newswriting on Deadline in a section called “Real Reporter.” Havre Daily News is located in Montana and it is a small newspaper with a circulation of 4,500. Though he works for a small paper, Markman does not see it as a bad thing, stating that he learns and gains a lot of experience from working there. This is mainly due to the fact that Markman is writing about ten or more articles a week and they are usually accompanied by a tight deadline.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Ross acquired his associate’s degree from Bucks County Community College and got this job after a two-year reporting internship and part-time work for a newspaper in Pennsylvania.

The most shocking part of the article is that he only had one journalism class in college, only two years of college under his belt, yet he was still able to acquire an internship with the Bucks County Courier Times and is now a successful reporter for Havre Daily News. I find this interesting because in comparison to a student who goes to a four-year institution; what are the chances of them getting the same luck?

What steps did he take that can give someone else pursuing a reporting job a similar outcome? My guess would be that Ross seemed to be at the right place, at the right time. He was probably lucky that the paper he was doing clerical work for was also looking for an intern. But I can’t help but have questions: Was he aware of such a position? Did he purposefully choose to work there to get his foot in the door? Or was it, as mentioned, luck?

In the article Ross states, “I may go back and finish my degree… But I think real work experience is more important. I’ve learned so much on the job.” I definitely agree with Ross on the fact that first-hand experience is far more valuable than simply sitting in a classroom, groggy, barely awake in the morning, and trying to learn how to be a… (insert profession).

Though getting to classrooms are such hassle for young college students, I do see the purpose. One must learn the fundamentals; it’s as simple as that. Still, nothing beats diving into the real work, much like the production assistant work that I’ve done in the past. It is an enriching experience that really got my hands dirty with equipment, dusty closets and copy machine ink and even when there were days that were in fact better than others, but there was nothing like coming home, throwing myself onto the bed and feeling tired as well as accomplished.

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