It doesn’t matter that I’ve been studying journalism at Elon for almost two years; I still get a thrill whenever I have the chance to learn from someone that works at The New York Times, or somewhere equally as prestigious.
And that’s exactly what happened today! My second session of the day — a special session that lasted just under 90 minutes, instead of the usual 50 — was led by Brian Stelter, media reporter for The New York Times. Brian had a really interesting story. In college, he started the TV Newser blog (now owned by Media Bistro), which specialized in coverage of TV and digital media. The Times found him, hired him, and now he has some of the most absolute job security at the organization, because he covers something that not many other people cover. That’s his story in a nutshell, at least.
Brian gave some really good advice during the session, and found some new ways to spin the tried-and-true advice that we’ve been given since Day 1 of college: Brand yourself. Find a niche. Write every day. Educate yourself about the industry. Keep practicing. I think what made Brian’s advice so much more engaging than that of other sessions was the fact that Brian is still in his twenties. He was in our shoes at the CMA Conference not too long ago, and he practices what he preaches. He did find his niche. He did brand himself. And he did it while he was still a college student, so it’s more than feasible for us to do the same sort of thing.
It was nice to come out of a session feeling inspired. The CMA Conference sessions have all been educational, informative and relatively helpful to my career path. But only a handful of them have left me absolutely itching to go out there and prove myself. A million thanks to Brian Stelter for that.
(Though maybe that thrill just comes from having a New York Times business card in my wallet. That’s very possible.)