Narcissim Aside, a Few Words About the Job Search.


My Dad asked a pretty simple question yesterday, and I gave a pretty simple answer.

The question: So, are there actually jobs out there for you?

The answer: Yes.

Simple stuff, right?

What I didn’t explain then — and what I’d like to explain here — is that while there are jobs out there, the one I’m really looking for doesn’t actually exist yet.

Any job I’m applying for is asking for a fragment of my skills. Nobody’s asking for the full package. And when I explain what I can really do, people get scared off, partially because they don’t seem to understand what I’m saying 1., and partially because they’re convinced that I’m about to take everyone’s job 2..

The problem is, up until a few years ago, nobody had ever thought to train a journalist in the manner that I’ve been trained. So it stands to reason that nobody would really expect a kid like me to be ready to do everything I need to be ready to do.

That explains why my portfolio page is such a mess. I mean, I can write. I’ve been published in The Boston Globe, The Rocky Mountain News, and The Washington Examiner, among others.

I can shoot and edit video — in both Final Cut and Avid — and I’ve done it for organizations like The Rocky and Newsy.com.

I know how to capture audio, and I can edit it in any program on the market (though I’m particularly fond of Audacity and Audition). I spent one summer producing radio stories for CBS News.

I know how to shoot photos, both sports and otherwise, with both Canon and Nikon equipment.

I can pull the entire story together with multimedia tools like Flash or Photoshop, or I can use my CSS and HTML skills to build an entire site in Dreamweaver. And I’m experienced with content management systems and web-based tools like VuVox.

As for social media: I tweet. I blog. I LinkIn.

But there’s no job for someone who can do all of that. There are reporting jobs, and there are producing jobs. There are jobs for people who want to work behind a desk, and there are jobs for freelancers.

But I’ve yet to find a job for me, a job in which I can teach media organizations how to tell better stories.

I suppose I’ll have to keep looking. Though, you know, it’d be a lot easier if people would just find me.

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UPDATE: Gannett is hosting a conference today about community journalism. Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette Richard Pratt, tweeting via @richpria, posted this “Old model: Reporter, editor, photographer, page designer, more, producing a single story. New model: One can do it all. Asking a lot.” This is what I’m up against. The concept of the “new model” is there. News outlets just haven’t realized that there are already people ready to fill those roles.

1.) Newspaper people have no idea what a VO/SOT is, for example. Radio people don’t know why newspaper people write a “-30-” at the end of stories. TV people aren’t versed with Flash keyframes. Designers don’t know what an f-stop is. No one knows what CPM is. Everyone speaks a different language, because that’s the easiest way to know who’s in the know (and, conversely, who isn’t). But nobody ever thought that somebody would become multi-lingual across journalistic platforms. >back to article

2.) I’m not. I’d actually like to help rebuild news organizations and create more jobs. I’d also like to improve the way we tell stories. But I wouldn’t mind becoming gainfully employed first. >back to article

H/T to The Wall Street Journal’s excellent photo blog for the graduation shot. The photo was actually taken by Matt Rourke of the Associated Press.