Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Career advice

Pete Hahnloser makes the following post at Testy Copy Editors:

I'm going to give away my nonstandard route to where I'm at now by saying that I never had an internship, nor did I ever see the value in it.
Perhaps an impressive internship or two at papers "everyone" has heard of is a valuable commodity, but the whole idea of starting at the top serves only to confirm young journalists' belief that their effulent is without odor (I had this problem, and was quickly broken of it at my first job).

There are plenty of positions available at papers with circulations upwards of 30,000 for those without internships who are willing to live in a city they've never heard of. Even at smaller papers, the experience of actually doing the job is more valuable than a paid internship that won't resemble the work someone will be doing afterwards.

Unpaid internships are certainly more palatable for those withdrawing from the First National Bank of Dad, but if people choose those over a real job, I can't feel any sympathy for their plight.

Perhaps it comes down to a question of prestige. I'd rather come home from work knowing that what I did today made a difference to our readers than being proud of the fact that I'm doing little-to-nothing at a paper everyone's heard of.

Admittedly, I was scared as hell of moving to a city of 40,000 after living in nothing but metro areas of 2 million or more, but it's a good experience to see how people actually survive in small towns.

People may feel like small papers are beneath them, but a corollary is that they probably feel their readers are beneath them as well -- wherever they end up.

From: Ashland, Ore.

Words of wisdom from start to finish.


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