Q: So I always hear the same thing: If you want to go into journalism, get an internship in college! Well, here I am, six months out of college, and I've finally gotten it together enough to know for sure that I want to go into journalism. I've had plenty of good jobs and I consider myself very qualified to do a lot of things.
Unfortunately, I've never had a job working for a newspaper, even at my university. I'm now making it on my own in New York, and I can't afford to have an unpaid internship. However, without one, it feels like no one wants to hire me. What do you think that I should do to break into the journalism world?
Thanks so much,
A: This is a tough one. You've decided to break into one of the most competitive journalism markets in the world with no experience and you need to get paid right away.
You have several choices, all difficult:
- Move to a market where there is far less competition.
- Get published. Freelance for newspapers, magazines or Web sites and get paid per piece. Even they will expect you to have some demonstrable experience, but if you start with the small ones that pay less, you might fly under the competitive radar.
- Go back to school. Work for the student paper, this time, and use off-semesters to get the internships you missed the first time.
None of these solutions is easy, I know. You have put yourself into a difficult position and will have to change something about it to make any headway.