Disclaimer: Please note that I wrote most of the posts in this section back around 2007 and haven’t done any updates since 2010. Given how quickly the field of communication changes, I’m sure at least some of the things here are no longer applicable.
With all the turmoil that has hit the newspaper industry and the uncertainty still to come, it’s little wonder that many journalists are considering a career change. On this page, I am posting a collection of my blog posts that offer advice on how to go about getting out of the newspaper industry mid-career. I hope this can be of some help to those who are looking to take the path I have traveled.
If you have any questions about certain aspects of getting out of newspapers mid-career, feel free to e-mail me and I will try to share whatever insight I have. I would also welcome any advice and resources you have to share on this subject.
- Part 1: Thinking About Leaving
- Part 2: How to Approach Your Job Search
- Part 3: What Fields Can You Get into With Your Journalism Skills
- Part 4: How to tweak your application material to maximize your chances
- Part 5: March 2010 update
- Part 6: Tweaking Your Cover Letter
Other resources to help you become an ex-journalist
- You’ve Just Been Laid Off. What’s Next — A blog post by Charles Apple giving very good advice on various aspects of life and career after a layoff. A must-read.
- Newspaper Escape Plan — Facebook group set up by talented illustrator Martin Gee, formerly of the San Jose Mercury News. Lots of good resources.
- 100 Free Open Courseware Classes on Journalism, Blogging and New Media — An excellent collection of links to online courses to help old dogs learn new media tricks that will serve them well in journalism or any other communications-related field.
- 18 sites to check out for advice if you’re thinking about leaving newspapers — a list compiled by Will Sullivan, who runs the Web site Journerdism. Yours truly is honored to be on the list.
- We Were Print — Former and Soon-to-Be Former Print Journalists: The name of the site pretty much says it all. There are posts offering advice for those who have left or might soon be leaving newspapers, as well as links to various job boards.
- “Getting out of the business” thread on sportsjournalists.com: Variety of useful Web sites.
- How to Answer the 64 Toughest Interview Questions
- Six Apart’s Journalist Bailout Program — a free bundle of features to help journalists/ex-journalists get a blog up and running quickly. Particularly helpful for the less techno-savvy. Read my thoughts on this.
- Turning Journalists into PR People — a nice primer by Jon Greer
- Ten Uses for an Ex-Journalist — series by former journalist Andrew R. Marshall
Some job boards
- Media Jobs Feed by Robb Montgomery — Nice collection of media jobs, some in journalism and some not
- PRSA Public Relations and Communications Jobs
- Creative Hotlist job board
- Guru.com — A site where you can bid on freelance projects. A free signup allows you to bid on 10 projects. Pay to upgrade to a higher level.
- International Association of Business Communicators job board
- A list of state government employment sites
In case you were wondering …
Why are you doing this?
Because I’ve seen, in online discussions, journalists who are considering getting out of the industry but don’t know how to go about it or where they can jump to. Having made the jump myself, I felt like I had something of value to share when it comes to how to land a non-newspaper job using newspaper skills.
What makes you qualified to give such advice?
Nothing, except my own experience getting out of the industry. I got out in 2006 and have embarked on a couple more job searches since then (one voluntary, the other not). So I have a good deal of recent experience in looking for jobs where I can still utilize many of the skills I used in journalism.
Do these tips work?
All I can say is that they worked for me. Obviously everyone’s situation is a bit different, and I’ll be the first to admit that I was fortunate in some ways, especially being still relatively young (27) when I got out of newspapers and thus not having to take a real step down in the career ladder. Nonetheless, I think there are things to be learned from the experiences I had that can be applied to more general situations.
Do you hate journalism? Why are you trying to talk journalists into leaving?
My offering this advice doesn’t mean I don’t love journalism. I do. I firmly believe journalism has a future, perhaps a bright one. However, I’m not so sure about newspapers. What I do know for certain is that it’s a rocky time to be in the industry. I’m not about to ask anyone to sacrifice the next decade of their life trying to save an industry that won’t hesitate to kick them out the door. I’ve seen a lot of talk about saving the industry, but not much about saving the people in it. This guide tries to help those people save themselves, if they so desire, because they deserve better.