As a journalist I constantly worry about financial security. Journalism is not a career you get into for the money. (Sorry, Mom.) Journalism is something you get into because you are passionate about it and you care about it.
What I’m learning now is that there are other means of making money in this business. You can use journalism to start a tech company or a new media site or channel or whatever you want. You can even be a freelance writer, like Julianne Pepitone.
Julianne has worked at numerous media companies, including CNN and NBC, as a business reporter. She decided to take her writing into her own hands and become a freelance writer. When life changes, you adapt. That’s exactly what Julianne had to do after she moved to the suburbs of New York with her family. As a freelance writer she had the independence to regulate exactly how she wanted to write and live her life.
Freelance writing intrigues me. A self-employed journalist seems like someone who wouldn’t make a lot of money right? How do you make those important “newsroom” connections? How do you stay relevant? Well, you work, like Julianne. It was really inspiring to hear her story and it gave me hope that one day I can take my journalism into my own hands as well and become independent and be successful.
I also had the chance to meet Michigan State alumni John Hill. John also studied journalism when he was a student but now is Vice President of Networking in a little company called Techstars.
Techstars are the pioneers of entrepreneurship and connecting young entrepreneurs to different resources and opportunities.
They are the ones that work closely with programs like the Hatch at Michigan State and host events like Startup Weekend. Since we have been to the Hatch as a class and have seen exactly how the Hatch operates, it was cool to see someone from the backbone of an institution like that talk about the importance of connectivity – person to person.
John had great advice about standing out in a crowd and making sure people remember you and your ideas. I guess I’ve always overlooked just how important networking really is. I may not want to start my own company now, but maybe one day I will. I should make sure I’m connecting and networking with people now so I can keep up those relationships if I ever need to reach out for a future venture.
Julianne says she’s always nice to people at work. That will get you far. Every internship, every event, make those relationships last. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but it was nice to know that maybe one day my good relationships with others might help me out professionally.
I’ve learned a lot from both Julianne and John. It’s valuable to hear their experiences and hear their advice. They’ve been in this business for a while so we can learn from them to be the best journalists, entrepreneurs and businessmen and women that we can be.