Bootcamp wrapped up its first week with a day trip to Politico, the Associated Press of Washington D.C., and the Newseum. Both Politico and the AP provided useful information that helped me understand just how their organizations worked. Before visiting the site, I didn’t know Politico shares space with the ABC station WJLA-news channel 8. I also didn’t know that the newspaper’s schedule depended o
n the cycle Congress was facing. I also didn’t know that they receive hundreds of resumes a day for internships, but they take about ten students within the entire company. I didn’t know just how hard it was to get a real job.
I had attended a lecture with senior editor David Mark through the Institute on Political Journalism a few weeks ago. He gave us similar advice, which was to bring creativity to the table and know your audience. He said to make yourself most marketable to a paper like Politico, it’s helpful for a writer to have a specialty. People go to the paper for politics, so the reporter needs to know a thing or two about politics. That’s when I knew I had to keep watching MSNBC and CNN for hours every day as I’ve been doing all summer.
Pia Catton said journalists need to be able to “punt, pass, and kick” in the game in order to be considered for one of the coveted positions in the big leagues. Her main concern for the day is filling that hole they call the newspaper “section,” with desirable content. The most valuable asset to the newsroom, she said, is a reporter who turns in clean copy ON TIME. The Politico team also encouraged us to keep blogging because blogs can “drive a story and leave mainstream media in the dust.”
At our next stop, the AP, I learned that the company was in a hiring freeze and expected applicants for future jobs to be seasoned and skillfull with technology and words. Rita Foley, who did a newscast in front of us, advised we keep our content short in order to keep listeners.
Denise Vance’s job was one that did give me hope despite the millions of resumes, increasing expectations, and hiring freezes. She is the director of video training at the AP. Essentially, she teaches print reporters to think visually and use the latest technology in their stories. If I can learn that before entering the AP, maybe there’s hope after all.
One of my biggest inspirations for continuing my study of journalism is the Newseum. If you want to learn how to better yourself, go to there and educate yourself about the innovators and experts. After looking through hundreds of photos, clips, and blurbs, I realized just how significant the visual aspect of journalism is in impacting people.
You can write all you want about the 9/11 attacks or a war a thousand miles away. But it wont sink in with people and it wont portray the same message as a single photograph can. The exhibits were remarkable, to say the least. But that’s coming from a journalism dweeb.
I found this picture to be one of the most provoking when you think about multimedia journalism. We have the Obamas posing for an array of cameras at an inaugural ball. But this camera blurred out the image of the first couple and kept the focus on the digital camera in the way. The digital camera displays a crisp photo of the couple that details more than the larger camera. I stopped and thought about this one a bit longer. Did the photo reflect what is to come of journalism? Does this symbolize the fact that the future of digial media provides a better picture than older methods? If a journalism student studies media trends throughout history and takes time to look at the little indicators of change, he or she is already setting him or herself ahead of the curve.
If you don’t have a job, it’s because there aren’t any. Or it’s because you happen to get overlooked amoung a sea of resumes. But persistence, attention to trends, and versatility will help along the way.