Bottom-right pic: me, out in the field covering a NAACP rally/ march once upon a time, while a reporter with The Washington Times’ D.C. local/ metro desk (I had a lot more hair back then than I do now! 🙂 )
Like some of my fellow alumni, I ended up not pursuing a further career in journalism after receiving my M.J. I moved on to other things after leaving North Gate Hall, most of which are chronicled on my website.
For me, journalist salaries were just too low. And, my frustration with newsrooms’ endemic political biases, and the “mission creep” of real news reporting morphing into commentary/ opinion, too high. (Now it’s 10x worse — just look at the Right and Left cable TV networks.)
But, my M.J. coursework, my M.J. thesis/ professional project and the related brief work I did at various news outlets (see the 3-asterisks*** further below) before and during my M.J. studies were not in vain.
Indeed, as my fellow alumni and all journalists know so well, being a general assignment “print” news reporter out in the field, as I once was, is quite a challenge. It’s the proverbial situation of being thrown over a cliff with bed sheets, rope and duct tape, and having to build a parachute before hitting the ground!
It’s true: with little or no notice, an editor sends you out alone to cover an event or situation you have no background in. You have a pen and pad only (believe it or not, these primitive tools are much more nimble and efficient — at least in covering a cacophonous and fast-moving crowd situation — than a cell phone voice recorder or Dragon Naturally Speaking). You don’t have the glamour of video cameras or microphones or production crew entourages that TV and radio reporters have. You then have to quickly thread the needle of what you’re seeing and hearing. Interviewees and sources have to be immediately charmed and cultivated for free (you can’t pay them to cooperate). And then, you have to write about it under a same-day deadline.
Thus, whether vis-a-vis business, spycraft, entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, the law (especially the law — for more on this, surf my website), sales, or life in general, I feel “print” news general assignment reporting is a great place to start.
*** During this time, I wrote news and features articles for various newspapers as a general assignment reporter, and/ or as a freelance reporter. These included:
- THE WASHINGTON TIMES (www.washingtontimes.com), Washington, DC. My reporting and writing covered companies and organizations (and their related events) such as: the Alexandria Convention & Visitors’ Bureau/ Virginia Scottish Games; the Consumer Product Safety Commission; the D.C. Commission of Public Health; Garden State Fireworks; Harley-Davidson, Inc.; Metro Transit; the Muscular Dystrophy Association; the NAACP; RFK Stadium; Run to Daylight/ National Head Injury Association; the Smithsonian Institution; the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind; the National Park Service; and others. My reporting also resulted in multiple stories on an intense summer heatwave that caused several deaths over a few short weeks.
- THE SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES (www.sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com), San Francisco, CA. A small business profile I wrote covered a translation/ interpreter firm, American Translators International (of Menlo Park, CA).
- THE DAILY NEXUS (www.dailynexus.com), Santa Barbara, CA. My reporting and writing covered organizations (and their related events) such as: the University of California — Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) East European Studies Program; the UCSB Public Events Office; the United Farm Workers of America; the UCSB Student Alumni Association; the UCSB Student Health Service; American Petition Consultants; the UCSB Women’s Center; and others.
- THE SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT (www.independent.com), Santa Barbara, CA. My reporting and writing covered organizations (and their related events) such as: the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Board of Directors; The Worx (a band/ musicians); and others.
Meanwhile, my M.J thesis/ professional project focused on tech companies partnering with universities (during the reporting/ writing of this thesis, I had the privilege to interview a former director of the National Security Agency [NSA], the then president of Molecular Devices, LLC, the then CEO of Amgen, Inc., as well as multiple technology authors, scientists, & directors of university technology transfer & industrial liaison departments).