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The obligatory “My First Year in Journalism” post

December 29, 2008

This is the first part of my “First Year in Journalism” series of thoughts. Also see: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

Earlier today, Twitter-er Leif Hansen posed the question: “If you were to give 2008 a chapter title in YOUR personal story, what would you title it?”

I just wrapped up my first year out of college at the end of November and here’s what I’d title it:


The reasoning — and this should come as no surprise — is that as much as I thought I learned in college, I really didn’t know much. That’s not a knock to my education or anyone who helped me along the way, but there’s just nothing like real world (re: non-internship) experience, where the safety net of “student” status is gone.

To recap: I spent six months at the Central Kitsap Reporter as an education/general assignment reporter and six months as an assistant editor in Sound Publishing’s new media department (Sound Pub is the CKR’s parent company), where I continue to work.

Here’s what I learned, with full posts on each of these bullet points coming later:

  • Google isn’t Satan. Contrary to what many have said about Google running newspapers into the ground, I’ve found it to be insanely useful — to the newspapers I work for. Same with the rest of the Internet.
  • Social networks are the new town squares. I just wrote this and I’ll keep saying it: You have to be where your readers are, whether that’s in real life or on Facebook.
  • People still want their news five minutes ago. However, whether it’s Pulitzer Prize-worthy can wait a few updates down the line.
  • Everyone is a reporter. Setting oneself apart now means not only keeping up with the latest toys, but using them in ways no one’s thought of yet.

I may add a couple/few more points if I feel it’s necessary, but those four are the bulk of my Year One education — and there’s a lot of information contained within them.

Like I said: More to come later this week.

Oh, and to see other people’s answers to Leif’s question go here.

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