Media Talk: So you want to work for The New York Times?

While some young graduates, like GWAS' Liz Burke, go on to get great jobs on prestige mastheads, and others get those coveted News Limited/ABC cadetships, most of us have to put in the hard yards on lesser known titles or in corporate communications roles before finding our way to our dream writing/designing/editing jobs. Without losing heart, it's wise to keep one's expectations in check while positioning yourself as a hard working, ethical job candidate who can turn a decent phrase and generate a lead off your own bat while looking composed and contented in your work and not like a smug smarty-pants who deserves better because you got a perfect GPA. Fact is, no one really cares about your GPA. Basic stuff, I know, but you'd be surprised how many fledglings still just do not get it. So make like that corporate newsletter/blog/internship is the most important job on earth. And find yourself a credible online platform through which to get your writing known; one that is not Facebook. I'll be taking two writing classes at QUT this semester – lucky them!

Girl With a Satchel


Alison said...


M said...

Yes, I am always surprised by how many graduates think that a degree is enough: in reality, it isn't really anything. Your portfolio is everything (well, mostly everything).

Anonymous said...

Oh so happy that you're back at QUT. They need you. Honestly.
I wish I listened to my lecturers in first year when they said "a journalism degree is only a piece of paper". I wouldn't have busted my ass so much at uni then.
I want all your students to read this post. I hope they do as much free work as they possibly can. And I hope they know that a degree is nothing but a piece of paper.
Sadly, this industry doesn't work according to talent. it works on who-you-know. And that's the truth.

Have a wonderful year on level 4 in Z block, Erica! :) Miss us.. x

Emma M said...

Well said. Why rookies think having one half-decent story idea entitles them to a senior role at a prominent - or even not-so-prominent - media outlet I do not know, but many seem to.
I have never worked at a national paper, but my advice is for newbies to get over themselves and start somewhere very small. Sure you have to cover a heap of piddly stuff like school fetes and senior's morning teas, but if you are the only, or one of the only, writers/reporters on staff, guess who gets to do the huge stories and fascinating features when they come along?That's right, you! You also learn more skills than simply writing, which can be invaluable when attempting to move on up.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post!

Best thing one of my journalism teachers did was make us call a local editor in the first semester and set up a coffee meeting, then BEG to write for a local paper for free.

Best thing I ever did. I convinced a local paper they needed more arts reviews, and that I should do them, and did it for free for two years. Loved it! I never made it the NY TImes but wrote for some other awesome publications...

This clip made me laugh so much!