What One Young Journalist Thinks of #AdviceForYoungJournalists
February 11, 2015
Lisa Tucker

When big-name journalists come under scrutiny for errors, everyone likes to pile on and say something about how journalism should be done. Brian Williams has been a trending topic all week. Maybe that is why so many people are eager to share their #AdviceForYoungJournalists.

This hashtag caught fire on Twitter and sparked conversation across the industry this week after seasoned journalist Felix Salmon wrote on open letter on Fusion in response to young journalists asking for advice. He warned that journalism is a “dumb career move,” and that “enormous numbers of incredibly talented journalists find it almost impossible to make a decent living at this game.”

As a senior about to graduate with the very degree that everyone is talking about, I decided to highlight some of the most interesting conversations from the hashtag, and include my reactions.

My Take: I love this. It sounds inspirational. That’s one of the reason I love journalism. It’s a way to tell a story and look deeper into someone’s life. It’s a profession that means something.

My Take: I think Orr’s comments highlight the real change happening in the industry. The reality is, every young journalist reads these outlets. It’s nothing unusual for us. And for those editors who don’t understand that — I don’t think it’s snobbery. They are just misinformed.


My Take: I think there are always going to be critics when you are writer. It’s a matter of sticking to your guns and reporting stories that need to be told.


My Take: I’m glad PBS NewsHour used the trending hashtag on young journalists as an opportunity to highlight former news anchor Jim Lehrer’s 2009 interview on the guidelines of journalism. These guidelines from Lehrer on the basics of ethics and fairness should be required reading for all young journalists. 

My Take: I just think this photo is hilarious.


My Take:  I feel like this is actually the truth. Journalism is all about the internships and honing your skills, right? Out of all of the tweets, this one from Jeff Brady, an NPR correspondent, resonated with me the most.

My Take: In many of my classes at University of Maryland, journalists come to speak about their work. Honestly, I love hearing it. It’s a lot of blood and sweat to get the story. I’m proud of every story I’ve written. I’d imagine if you are a veteran journalist, you’d be very proud – and you’d want to talk about it. Well, we want to listen.

Vox.com editor-in-chief Ezra Klein also posted a piece this week touting his best advice to young journalists. I noticed how he was critical of the value of journalism school.

“Don’t go to journalism school,” he wrote. “You’re better off just interning, or writing a blog, or reading think-tank papers. … A lot of journalism schools teach bad habits, and make you pay for the privilege of learning them.”

My Take:  I agree that internships are a great place to learn how to write. But I learned a lot about it in the classroom. It was a place where I could write under the stress of a deadline and challenge myself to be better. I learned about media law and ethics. And I learned how to interview different types of people. In my news writing class of sophomore year, I interviewed a police officer, city council members, business owners and local church leaders for various articles. These aren’t “bad habits” – they are the start of what I hope to be a career.

 Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Jim Lehrer is the former news anchor for PBS NewsHour. 

  • Donald Mcclure

    Here is a layman’s advice to any aspiring journalist- be honest with yourself, you are prejudice and since you are in the “aspiring” stage the odds are beyond 80% you thought B.O was going to be great. if you cannot see this administration as vying for one of the worst (I personally think Grant was by comparison not bad- think Solyndra) then your prejudice is beyond 80%. However, what ever level you are at-do your damnedest to set it aside and be factual. When your teachers, editors, fellow journalist, tell you you have to put things in “context” for the great unwashed-go to different cocktail parties since they mean brainwash them to the liberal point of view. If something needs context be factual and not ideological about the context. When one party is blamed for shutting down the government (which may be a good thing for a period of time from time to time) be sure to note that it takes two to make an argument and what the other sides view is with equal time. When you become a columnist (I would think that is the desire of most young Journalist) then try to be fair although in that case you may show your prejudice- just note it to your readers. Here is a small test- have you ever thought that the “war” on poverty is a good thing, then how come poverty via a per capita comparison is a failure? A good journalist would ask that question and seek answers. Is a tax system in which approximately 48% of the population is exempt from paying federal income tax a good system? How can that be fair unless you are a third world country. And do you have any feelings that the story of those that do pay needs to be written with some kudos to the productive? Test your- self with knowing some truths that you have never investigated-name the President that started the program of telephones for those on welfare- was it JFK? Carter? LBJ? or is it Obama phones? No I’m not going to give you the answer-look it up. Now that you have looked it up are you surprised? If yes then you have learned that you don’t know everything and maybe you should be sure and get your facts straight before you write a story. Who said (paraphrase)” your rights do not come from government but from the Creator”? surprised after checking it out? What do you make of the fact that the earth has not warmed for the last 17 almost 18 years? Does that cast any doubt in you that there is not an abnormal global warming? Why did the leftist change the theme to “climate change”? have you investigated that. What day of the existent of the Earth’s history was there not “climate change” the first day-the thousandth day, the millionth day? Why the change from BC to BCE? We know what happened to bring about the designation BC what the hell happened to make a designation the “Common Era”? And above all remember the world started before you were born-truly know history and as necessary for us all check it out. Now you can set this advice column aside of a frustrated elderly man who tends conservative, yet in his life time voted for Carter (yes I now admit it was a mistake), Jesse Jackson in the democratic primary, and in reflection think that JFK was pretty good although he had a large part of giving us Vietnam. Have a good career and I truly hope you find a job- although you may have to wait for a businessman president that can actually spell economics.

  • baby blogger

    I agree with you MR. Donald Mcclure. But i think that Journalist should be checked for errors for all news they created otherwise it could be fatal to the media industry.
    check this
    censorship and humans

  • dramatvtalk

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