Experience, Experience, Experience- Why an education isn’t enough to land a job in Journalism

Posted by: Susan Nourse

We were all told that we needed to go to college and get good grades to land out dream job, but it seems that getting an education simply isn’t enough to land a job as a journalist anymore. What employers are really looking for is experience.

Credit- © European Union 2012 - European Parliament

Credit- © European Union 2012 – European Parliament

Having the perfect 4.0 GPA has lost its relevance. Perfect grades crumple next to portfolios of published work in the hiring process. Working in an environment where you’re writing stories on a deadline is more impressive to future employers than getting straight A’s.

But this brings up a problem. If employers are only looking to hire journalist with work experience, how are you going to get hired without it?

Here are a few ways to gain experience before applying for your dream journalism job:

Write for a school publication: There are several options to write for your school publications. Writing for your school’s newspaper, magazines or other publications will help you gain experience and your name on the byline of a publication, building your portfolio.

Get an Internship: The portfolio you build through school publications can help you land an internship while you’re still in school. If you can impress your employer and colleagues, you can start a network of people who can help you land a job after you graduate. Your professors probably know journalist who work in the field and are looking for interns. Ask them to help you find an internship.

Do you think grades have lost their relevance in the field of journalism, or are they still important? 

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6 responses to “Experience, Experience, Experience- Why an education isn’t enough to land a job in Journalism

  1. I don’t feel like students should undermine the value of getting good grades. It has become trending to use “getting experience” as an excuse to slack off in school and even though I believe experience is extremely important, it shouldn’t be used to justify getting bad grades. I don’t think that all employers completely overlook grades. They may overlook someone with a 4.0 and no work experience, over a student with a 3.5 and a lot of experience. However I doubt they would overlook a student with a 4.0 and a lot of experience compared to someone else with 3.5 and the same amount of experience. That’s just my personal opinion though. I sure don’t have perfect grades, but still consider them very important and try and get the most out of my classes that I can.

    • Good point. You shouldn’t use experience as an excuse to slack off. I feel you should go into a class with an intention of learning something and getting the most out of it, not just with an intention of getting a good grade. Also,slacking off in class could lead to bad habits in your work.You should always strive to do your best work even if it’s just for a class.

  2. I have had this problem even with internships. Newspapers want interns with at least one year experience reporting for another newspaper. I struggled to find one that did not request previous experience.

  3. I think that doing well in school is still important, but it is not everything. It is always important to be a well rounded individual. Experience and grades go hand in hand to make you a successful journalist. I also think that networking is a crucial part of landing a job. Experience it great, but it is vital that you establish relationships in the industry.

  4. Some of the best advice I’ve received in college has been to forget about grades. It’s about what you learn. If I come out of a class with a B, but I know InDesign like the back of my own hand, I’ll consider that a win in the professional world. And, if given the chance to justify a poor grade in a class to a future employer, I think they would understand, too.

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