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What j-school really is good for

Tomorrow is my friend Trent’s first day at my paper.

I’m so excited. He’s one of my favorite people from Kent, and the idea that he’ll be working with me is awesome for two reasons. First, it’s nice to have someone around who I’ve known longer than seven months and with whom I can totally be myself because he’s seen me in just about every state I could possibly find myself in — and vice versa. Second, he’s a talented designer, and I look forward to the creativity he’ll bring to the job.

Abbey also starts her job this week, on Tuesday. She interned in Lafayette this summer, and she and I definitely spent quality time together. I was so sad for her to go but so happy for her to land a job (even though I’d rather she had taken one closer to me). She’s going to cover night cops in Newark — Ohio, not New Jersey, as we have learned it is necessary to qualify. I do think it would be awesome to cover cops in Newark, NJ. You’d never be bored. :/

Moving on to my original point, I’m just as excited about the futures of both these friends (OK, and all the rest of you’ns who have recently started your jobs or will do so soon — I want updates!). And also for one of my best friends at the J&C, who also is stepping into a new role soon.

Something about having other friends who are professionals makes me feel older, more mature. In a good way.

I’m not just a college-aged person masquerading as a real reporter, which is secretly how I felt the first six months. I was proving myself, to myself. But know what? I am a real journalist. And now, so are many of my friends.

Aside from beat contacts who know my name and contact me with ideas (something that takes some time to develop), I have connections beyond my beat and paper. Not just ties to a university, but ties to real people at other real papers doing their real jobs. I can use my connections here and elsewhere to help others get jobs, as I’ve done twice so far for un-posted jobs (to my own “networking is pointless, talent wins any day” surprise). Who knows, eventually, to help me get a job or do my job better. I can trade story ideas and horror stories with friends who are covering the same beat as me in different communities. I can talk to them about awesome multimedia they’ve done or seen that I want to try. I can follow their blogs (look at the side of this page, the DKS throwback list keeps growing!) or their lives through Facebook.

It’s funny because, as I alluded to earlier, I used to think networking was stupid. If you were talented and driven, that would be enough. But I’ve learned talent and hunger isn’t so rare. If my job search and the subsequent job searches of my friends has taught me anything it’s this: The value of my j-school education had nothing to do with what I learned in media writing or copy editing. I could have and would have learned that anyway. Even in key classes like beat reporting and RPA, I learned more through my work at the Stater. The real value of a j-school education is the other talented and passionate people you meet. I feel fortunate that tomorrow there will be another Kent Stater sharing my newsroom again and for good this time. Who knows whether I’ll luck into more jobs with more of my talented friends later on?

4 Responses to “What j-school really is good for”

  1. Grace Says:

    So true. The industry is small enough that you could easily know a few people at newspapers in each state after a few years, and that translates into ultimate mobility. (I got my current job by knowing people who gave me the heads up.) Granted, it’s talent that keeps you inside once you get in the door, but networking is painless and pays off.

  2. Ben Says:


    I need a new design. And a new domain name. My domain expired forever ago when I switched credit cards, dumping all my stuff in the process. HALP.

  3. abs Says:

    i miss my mer!!!!

    come visit me. i have lots of room. it sort of reminds me of your apartment, in that it’s really bare.


    but i’m going to try to be like you and come up with crafty things to spice it up.

  4. Kate Bigam Says:

    We’re all gonna meet up with one another again – somewhere at the top.

    See you there.