Last week, John Hill, Spartan alumni with a B.A. in journalism, came to speak to our media entrepreneurship course. I think the funniest criticism I receive these days is a criticism to my major. “Journalism? How are you going to make any money? You know print is dying? It’s not the same as it used to be.” Yeah, we know. Thanks for the insight!
Here’s the thing: a journalism degree will take you FAR. And Hill helped prove that. Granted, he had no idea where his writing and reporting skills would take him. From university jobs to national pursuits, he took his talents far beyond local papers. Here he was, visiting from Boston, Massachusetts, after professional experiences ranging from local work at Michigan State University and the Lansing State Journal to positions at national companies including Gannett and LinkedIn.
Now, Hill works as VP of Network at Techstars, a worldwide network working to help entrepreneurs and start-up businesses succeed in their industries. Hill has always had a passion for helping others find their purpose, and with his role at Techstars he is seeing real results in the market and in professional attitudes and aptitudes. Connecting industry beginners to industry experts, Hill is helping create opportunities for idea growth and business exposure.
Perhaps the greatest tip Hill gave us? Networking. With an MSU base on LinkedIn of 281,000+ individuals, there is no shortage of sources – just connections waiting to be made. Relationship-building is perhaps the most vital element in today’s professional realm, and Hill pushes its importance. He could go on about the difference a platform like LinkedIn would have made in his job search, but rather places his efforts into exemplifying the tools and tricks it offers to ensure we get the most out of our career searching.
Hill spoke his truth. From his recollection of sitting in our very own classroom as a sophomore in college searching for his purpose, to his honesty about his non-linear path in the professional world, he inspired me to be open-minded about my future. A journalism degree provides us with the skills to make a difference in whatever field we choose. With communication skills, creative ideation and strong storytelling, we enter into the world prepared to bring change in whatever form that may be. Whether it’s writing for a local paper or investing our time in a start-up company, what we are learning here is not for naught.
Don’t be discouraged when someone stomps on your passion. They just can’t understand it. So make sure one day they do. Thank you John Hill for your advice and your honesty. It was a pleasure to hear your story. And thank you J-School for growing students into talented game-changers.