Pearls of wisdom for the j-school class of 2010

It’s almost April, which for many jschoolers means the end
of an era. You’ve spent two, three or four years taking notes, transcribing
tapes, filing copy and discussing whatever news kerfuffle happened that week,
and now it’s all coming to a close. Of course, chances are you’ll still do all
of those things, but you’ll do it with a couple of letters next to your name
and (fingers crossed) a regular paycheque.

Here’s where I’d like to offer you some advice, but since I’ll be among this year’s graduates—and I’m so terrified of
the real world that most of my days are spent focusing on an upcoming trip, old
Dawson’s Creek reruns and the fact that I don’t get to wear one of those goofy
hats at my graduation ceremony—you know, in addition to mailing resumes and writing

I figured the advice part is best left up to those a
little more seasoned than yours truly.

, Advancing the Story, from a
commencement speech at the University of
North Carolina Chapel Hill:

years ago, young people just like you left college with journalism degrees knowing
full well what they were getting into and they did it anyway. What were THEY
thinking? Either A) they weren’t very bright, or B) they had the audacity to
believe that what they wanted to do would be worth the personal sacrifice they
knew it was going to take.

choose (B).

know what they knew. You know it’s going to be tough. It always has been….even
back when I started out….

tools you have at your disposal have never been better. The information you
need has never been more accessible.

there are fewer jobs available at news organizations. But you don’t need to
work for one to do great journalism and have it seen by a wide audience. In
fact, the Internet makes your potential audience almost unlimited. That’s a
little scary…but very exciting.”

, PoynterOnline’s Ask the

“Employers are not likely
to get serious about hiring 2010 graduates until they know what jobs they will
have open, of course. That is much different from your internships, when offers
went out months and months in advance. Job offers won’t be made until a
position is vacant, and then they will want you to start right away.

“The other dynamic you will experience is that while you have been near the top
of the deck for college students, you will soon be competing with experienced
professionals. It sounds like you have a lot going for you, and design hires
tend to skew younger, but you should still expect a whole new level of

Kiyoshi Martinez, Innovation in
College Media

not the end of the world if you don’t get a newspaper job. There’s online publications,
non-profits, activist publications, etc. Yes, you can also be like me and join
the so-called “dark side” and go into public relations. If you’re
talented, marketable and passionate, then you can find yourself with
opportunities beyond what you’d traditionally think of as a journalism job.

might think that, right now, all you want to do is work at a newspaper and be a
reporter. But you’ll probably quickly find that you might not enjoy that as
much as you thought. And it’s also likely that you’ll find that your interests
extends beyond deadtree editions. To me, it didn’t make sense to close any
doors and restrict myself narrowly. You can be happy doing a variety of things.”

time to enter the “real world” and leave the cozy confines of your college or
university. Good luck everyone: There’s no turning back now.