Bridget Bartos

First Hand: Talking to entrepreneurial ​​journalists

This week we had two guest speakers: John Hill, an MSU graduate who didn’t end up in journalism, exactly; and Julianne Pepitone, a journalist who went from working at CNNMoney, to NBC, to being her own boss as a very entrepreneurial freelancer.

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

I know that I don’t want to end up working in journalism, so hearing John Hill speak made me feel better about my future career.

Hill started off as a journalist, but took a lot of twists and turns he never expected. He even ended up working with alum right here at his dream workplace: Michigan State.

John took a leap, becoming the director of alumni relations during the 2008 recession. Here, he was starting to struggle finding help for all of our alumni.

After some research, he discovered that having connections was the best way to reach your goal of finding a job post-grad. John started the MSU alumni LinkedIn group, which grew in popularity quickly.

He would travel from college to college sharing his story, explaining to others how to make their alumni network strong. Soon, LinkedIn took notice to John’s efforts and hired him on.

From here his career in entrepreneurship took off. He traveled to colleges all over the world explaining his ideas. And now he’s with TechStars, one of the best tech accelerators out there! He’s in charge of their really huge alumni network.

Julianne’s story was a little different. After graduating with a journalism degree, she knew two things. She hated writing about money and the environment.

Of course, she started off with a job involving data collection, where she made barely enough money to pay her bills.

After hearing a job at CNNMoney, she thought she would take a shot. She got hired as a temp but eventually became full time. And as employees kept getting laid off, she ended up staying on.

She stayed there for many years, making friends and having a great experience. Eventually she felt it was time to move on, and then she got a job at NBC. That’s where she got more experience doing video and other skills, but she also had a lot of bosses as the network was in transition. While at NBC, she also happened to have her first child and move out of the city into the suburbs. The commute just wasn’t worth the job anymore.

Julianne decided to jump right into freelancing. Her contacts vary, usually being old colleagues and friends that have moved onto differnt companies.

She always turns in her work on time and prides herself in kindness. This has worked out for her, as she makes bank all while working at home on the stories she chooses.

Listening to both Julianne and John was inspiring and motivational. It makes me excited to see where my career will take me.

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