What news recruiters look for in student-journalists

14 08 2009

Many of the top U.S. news organizations attended the AAJA 2009 National Convention job fair in Boston.

Since it’s not everyday student journalists get the opportunity to talk to editors and recruiters from the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, USA Today and others, I took the liberty to ask some of them a simple question: what is the most important thing your news company looks for when a student journalist hands in an application for your internship program?

Washington Post booth

A recruiter from The Washington Post talks to a student journalist during the AAJA 2009 National Convention job fair in Boston

Here are their answers:
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Journalists in jeopardy: the cost of international reporters

14 08 2009

If a magic genie appeared and granted me any job I desired, I would ask to be an international reporter.

The mix of adventure, excitement and danger with a focus on international issues just sounds so perfect.

Thursday’s morning plenary session at the AAJA 2009 National Convention in Boston addressed the various aspects of international journalism.

Juju Chang, ABC News correspondent, Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists and Sandra Nyaira, political editor of the Daily News, Zimbabwe, spoke as panelists in "Journalists in Jeopardy" Thursday morning.

Juju Chang, ABC News correspondent, Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists and Sandra Nyaira, political editor of the Daily News, Zimbabwe, spoke as panelists in "Journalists in Jeopardy" Thursday morning.

And with the recent events of journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling‘s release from North Korea (which they sent a short little video thanking AAJA for their efforts) has led me and others to rethink how reporters are putting their life on the line. They risk themselves for the sake to create compelling news in places where free press is not a guaranteed right. And not only that, the landscape of international reporting is changing.

“The Web opens the door to a new generation of journalists,” Juju Chang, ABC News correspondent said in a panel with two other journalists with experience in international reporting.

Many international reporters today work as mobile journalists – a “one-man band in the finest sense,” she said in the context of ABC’s program.

But this shift from established foreign bureaus to solo backpack journalism is something that is happening more often – especially with the financial state of news organizations.

So international reporters lose a network and safety net of an established bureau. What’s a gain?

“It is a tremendous opportunity to cover stories that won’t normally get covered,” Chang said.

So with the future of international reporting possibly going under reinvention, what should journalists who are seeking to report abroad do? Roxana Saberi, Iranian-American journalist who was arrested in Iran this January and released in May, tells AAJA members five useful tips:

Roxana Saberi speaks with NPR Host Melissa Block at NPR headquarters Wednesday in Washington D.C. This was the first media interview Saberi has given since her release from Iran's Evin prison on May 11. She had been sentenced to prison after an Iranian court convicted her of espionage, but her sentence was suspended after an appeals hearing. Associated Press

Roxana Saberi speaks with NPR Host Melissa Block at NPR headquarters Wednesday in Washington D.C. This was the first media interview Saberi has given since her release from Iran's Evin prison on May 11. She had been sentenced to prison after an Iranian court convicted her of espionage, but her sentence was suspended after an appeals hearing. Associated Press

1. If you want to freelance internationally, pick a country with fewer journalists.

2. Know how to tell stories in multiple mediums

3. Become a part of the language and culture. And familiarize yourself with the legal system of the host country.

4. Balance pressures between the press, host government, your boss and self conscience.

5. Have a go-to person. A friend or family member who can check in everyday to make sure you are safe and out of danger.





Five lessons I learned from the L.A. Daily News

13 08 2009

I had the privilege to intern for the Los Angeles Daily News this summer. Here are five lessons I learned over the course of my time there:
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