Isabelle Roughol – The J junkie

The tribulations of a young journalist and writer looking for work

“You’re really here for the revolution,” or why J school grads like me are freakin’ excited

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I just got out of my capstone class, which, under the somewhat pompous heading of “Journalism and Democracy,” is actually pretty good at helping seniors figure out what on earth we’re going to do with the rest of our lives. I mention it because today Geneva Overholser spoke to us. She was inspiring and kept it simple, giving us 4 things to keep in mind as we start out careers. I’d like to share those with you.

  1. Keep an open mind.

  2. Today’s journalism doesn’t resemble what we thought we were getting into, even just four years ago when we applied to MU. Get used to it and get over it.

  3. Be wise.

  4. “Wise shall be the bearers of light” is our motto engraved on the historic J-school building. Never has it been more true than today.

  5. Be entrepreneurial.

  6. Thank God! I side with the partisans of more business skills being taught in J schools. How can we save our industry if we can’t figure out how to make money at it? But Geneva wasn’t just talking about that. Talking about new media, she essentially said, you can’t have every skill in the world but you must expose yourself to them, be ready to understand them. Coming from a pretty grand figure of old media, this one made me particularly happy. Maybe I shall invite her to Wired Journalists.

  7. Have passion.

  8. Amidst all the doom and gloom talk, we’re almost forgetting that we got into this because we cannot possibly imagine doing anything else. With her 40 years’ experience, Geneva said she had never seen a more exciting time for journalism worldwide. And with my 2 years’ experience, I couldn’t agree more. “You’re really here for the revolution,” she said. “It’s gonna take your passion.”

With all that inspiring talk, I finally figured out my senior project, but more on this another time. If you want to read more from Geneva, download her Manifesto for Change. See her talk about it below (bless Berkeley for publishing their lectures online, even if the photography could be better.)


Written by Isabelle Roughol

Monday, 18 February, 2008 at 19:38

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