Countdown to Graduation

Countdown to Graduation
One senior scrambles to cram in all things Carolina before heading out into the real world.

posted 6/10/2009

A Job

So, I've heard a couple (seems like a million) times that this isn't the greatest economic climate to get a job in, especially for journalism. But, I got one! So take that, economy and dying newspaper industry! Well, before I get too ahead of myself, let me preface it by saying it's not exactly a full time job and I'm not getting those desperately sought after health benefits. Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Like I've mentioned in here before, I applied for a lot of internships for the summer and didn't hear back from most. Luckily, the folks at the Carolina Alumni Review thought I didn't mess up their magazine too bad and asked me back again for the summer. The plan was to step up my 10 hour weeks to 20 hours, something I was pretty happy about considering I like working here and I love my daily walks through campus to get to work (the ones that don't include those pesky summer rain showers that seem to happen everyday). But, there was a little twinge in me that said I should still be concerned with finding that ever elusive after-graduation job. Just the word job was kind of scary; I tend to like the less permanent idea of an internship.

The thing about the Chapel Hill/Raleigh area is that there are tons of opportunities for young journalists like myself. The problem is … there are a ton of young journalists like myself. And I really wanted to stay in the area for at least a year or so, I'm not ready to leave Chapel Hill. I had sent out a couple of applications, heard back from some, but didn't really feel good about any of them. After talking to my journalism career counselor who told me it was all about networking, I took his advice to an extreme. I contacted the editor of the Carrboro Citizen [link:] and touted my ability to write about community sports, something the Carrboro Citizen didn't really have the manpower to cover in great detail. I figured it was a long shot that I could essentially create a position and get paid for it, but to my surprise the editor agreed to meet with me. What happened next is a perfect case of being at the right place at the right time. Turns out I was right that a community sports editor wasn't necessarily a viable option, but as luck would have it, one of the main reporters at the Citizen was getting married and taking off for California in a couple of weeks. I was asked to apply for that job and now I have it! I work about 20 hours a week, both in the office and going to events and interviewing people. I write general news stories, government stories and briefs.  I've also been given the responsibility of amping up local sports coverage, something I'm excited about doing. It seems to be the great Jay Eubank (Journalism career extraordinaire) was right, you can't just check out job sites for leads, you need to create your own.

I've worked one full week and a couple of days at the new job, and I love it. Because it's a weekly newspaper, the newsroom has a laid back feel, or maybe it's just because the people that work there are laid-back. I've already written some cool stories, gotten to improve my photography skills and covered a Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting. As I e-mailed my favorite professor last week, I wasn't paying attention as much as I should when he taught our class the fine art of covering town meetings because I, like probably most in my class, thought I was on to bigger and better things. Well, turns out ESPN and the New York Times weren't exactly knocking on my door when I graduated. Luckily for me, I really do enjoy what I'm doing and I was certifiably enthralled with a discussion between the board and the department of transportation about proposed road widening project. This is really the kind of news people in communities care about and someone has got to give it to them!

I still work at the Carolina Alumni Review 10 hours a week and my most recent assignment has been writing roundups for this most recent UNC baseball College World Series run, something I'm extremely interested in. I'll probably have to find another part-time job once this internship ends, but for now I'm enjoying my journalism jobs that give me a little time to lay out by the pool and work on my tan.

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