Some of my most popular posts here have offered advice on how to find and land a job in journalism. So I thought I should point out that Matt Thompson has offered great advice on this topic.
Matt’s tips overlap with some of mine, but he says them better, so I encourage you to check out his advice if you’ve found mine helpful. Here’s my favorite of Matt’s 10 points:
The very best interviews feel like great conversations. This may be one of my quirks as an interviewer, but I’ve found this to be true both as an interviewer and as an interviewee. Interviews often start out as interrogations — a back-and-forth series of questions and answers. But great interviews don’t tend to end that way. With the interview, I’m not merely trying to unlock the bits of knowledge in your head, and I’m certainly not trying to see how well you anticipate the answers locked in my head. I am trying to assess how you think, what you’re passionate about, how we gel as colleagues. (more…)
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Posted in Career advice, Personal, tagged Des Moines Register, Des Moines Tribune, Grand Forks Herald, job hunting, Kansas City Star, Kansas City Times, Minot Daily News, Omaha World-Herald, unemployment on July 24, 2012 |
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I loved my job as editor of the Minot Daily News. I reported to work 20 years ago today thinking I was at the pinnacle of my career and would stay there for many years to come.
North Dakota seemed like the right place for me, even with sub-zero wind chills much of the winter and huge mosquitoes through the summer.
Mimi was a popular columnist and had a thriving freelance writing business. Our sons were doing well in school. We had a nice home on a hill with a lovely view of the city in the valley below. We had fallen in love with Teddy Roosevelt National Park, just a couple hours’ drive away.
My staff was performing good journalism. We were doing watchdog reporting for our community. We were providing a strong editorial voice. We were learning and improving together as journalists.
Other newspapers in North Dakota were noticing the rise of the smallest of the state’s “big four” newspapers (yes, “big” is relative; in most states all of those papers would be mid-sized or small). I had been elected president of the North Dakota Associated Press Managing Editors my first year in the state. My staff won more awards at the North Dakota Newspaper Association’s summer conference than anyone could remember us winning.
After tumultuous experiences when afternoon newspapers had died in Des Moines and Kansas City and I questioned decisions by top leaders, I wanted to run a newsroom myself. I had ideas about executive leadership that I wanted to try and they seemed to be working. We had smoothly managed a change earlier in the year from afternoon to morning production. I was enjoying the momentum I felt my career had.
Then I got fired. Twenty years ago today.
I never got a good explanation for the firing, and probably wouldn’t have believed it if I did. In retrospect, I can see clearly that the owners were planning to sell the paper. It was jointly owned by the Buckner News Alliance and Donrey Media, and that partnership was probably never a good idea. Unloading big salaries was part of a plan to make the newspaper more attractive financially to a buyer. In less than a year, the publisher fired the editor, advertising manager, business manager and production manager, replacing us, if at all, with people who clearly made less money. Then the owners sold the paper to Ogden Newspapers, which still owns it.
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