If you’re going to be a successful journalist then you should know that you’re not going to make a lot of money at first, you need to keep your social media clean and you’re going to have to do some work for free.
Recent Radford University graduates Mike Andrews and Holly Henry gave advice and stories about how they landed their jobs at an alumni panel on Friday, April 6, that marked the end of Communication Week. They also had an open discussion with the 50 some students in attendance.
Henry is the web content manager at WTKR. She is responsible for deciding what stories go on the station’s website. “I have to have good news judgment to place each story one, two, three, and decide which one goes as the top story.” She graduated from Radford in 2008 with a degree in media studies.
Mike Andrews is the promotions coordinator at WJFK-FM. He not only deals with planning events around the D.C. area but also blogs about the Washington Wizards.
Andrews talked about how he had received several job offers but the money was not enough to live comfortably. A common problem for journalist starting out is low pay and long hours, he said. Building your career requires a lot of time and effort.
“I got offered a job [in the Roanoke area] but it just wouldn’t have worked out money-wise for me. I wouldn’t have made enough to even pay rent.” He also spoke about how he and several people he works with have additional jobs to make extra money.
Henry wasn’t working in media at first. She had a day job and cleaned houses on the side. She then got a job doing promotions but was making $7.25 an hour, so she waited tables for extra money. She described the promotions experience as “awesome, because you met everyone in the media and became friends with them.”
As for social media, Andrews and Henry agreed that you are going to have to first clean it up and secondly keep it clean. In reference to Facebook, Henry said “Pretend that everyone is going to see something and then only post stuff that you feel comfortable with.” She also said that it was not necessary to delete your Facebook or to have two Facebook accounts.
She also said that she goes through her social media and cleans it up once every couple of months and continues to make sure that anything she posts would be acceptable for all ages.
Andrews told students about how just earlier in the week two employees at CBS were fired because of what they put on twitter. Although they weren’t acting as employees when they posted, “their twitter bio was affiliated with the station.”
He also mentioned that a picture of you at a bar is OK, but you upside down drinking is over the line and can land you in some serious trouble with your manager. He highly recommends students make their Facebook profiles private and continually check the privacy settings so that nothing comes back to hurt you. Andrews also recommends students keep their twitter completely clean.
Both Henry and Andrews spoke of how they have done a lot of work for free to help get their names out there. They both said that having a blog that looks professional and has strong quality in it is key. “I put together a WordPress and spent about five hours putting content together for it,” said Andrews of how he got started blogging. He said students shouldn’t do what he did, but rather should start now.
They both said that in journalism, it takes money to make money.