One more thing to tell people about being a journalist

lenziclass
Talking to Jeremy’s class at Greensburg Salem High School, Oct. 23, 2015 – Greensburg, Pa.

So I’ve been speaking to a lot of high school and college students lately about the craft of journalism and how it crosses all platforms. I’ve stood up in front of classes, I’ve Skyped with students, instructors and professors, I’ve even talked on the phone with people working on papers and projects, and I’ve discussed how the industry has changed.

In 1998, I was only writing for a daily newspaper, and I was responsible for one, maybe two stories a day. Now I’m blogging, tweeting, making videos with my iPhone and sending up-to-the-minute online updates on a major Division I college football program.

I’ve also discussed what it’s like to be a women in a male-dominated field. How important it is to hold onto the fundamentals of journalism, but also discussing the importance of being knowledgeable of what you cover, the importance of working hard and working smart, and even the importance of how you professionally present yourself.

I’ve thought of a few constants that still hold true, 17 years later, but this afternoon I thought of one more thing I wish I could have impressed upon students.

Thanks to the greatness of multimedia, it’s not too late to do it.

Here’s one piece of advice: find a niche – and treat it like the most important thing that will go onto your platform. Because someone else out there is interested in it, too.

I did it with high school wrestling in Colorado.

I did it with high school hockey in Maine.

I did it with the University of Maine hockey team – which WAS a big deal.

I still do it with Michigan football – which IS a big deal.

Find something you are passionate about covering and learning about. I’ve seen some really, really incredible journalists do this, and soar because of it.

By doing this, people will see that you care. And they will respond.

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