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Networking isn’t everything

Let’s face it. Every one of you reading this wants to get a job after you graduate.
Isn’t that kind of the point of college?
If you want to be a lawyer, aren’t you going to try and find an internship with a prestigious law firm? Business majors apply for internships with major corporations in the area in hopes of finding out what makes a company tick.
None of these have any kind of representation on campus, yet students go out of their way to seek them out in order to gain priceless experience.

However, one organization on campus does offer an internship-type experience that can be invaluable in finding a job after graduation.
That’s right … the Scout.
If you are wanting a job in the newspaper industry after graduation, what better place to look than an actual, working newspaper on your own campus?
No matter how stressful the week is, every single Friday I pick up the latest issue of the Scout and know I had a hand in making that happen.
No internship can offer you that much hands-on experience with real, tangible results.
Most people will tell you that networking is the key to finding a job, which may be true.
But it doesn’t matter if you know the publisher of the New York Times – if you have never written a news story, you aren’t going to get a job.
Many professors play up the other journalism organization on campus – the Society of Professional Journalists. From what I hear in my classes, many students are members of SPJ, but don’t write for the Scout, or any other actual news publication.
How is that helpful?
Just because you go to a meeting about newspapers doesn’t mean you know how to actually write a good story.
As a compliment to some other kind of experience in the news media, I think SPJ can be a wonderful asset. If you have the skills necessary to succeed in the world of professional journalism then having that in at the Chicago Tribune could score you the job of a lifetime.
I know what a lot of you are thinking. “Isn’t it who you know, not what you know that gets you a job?”
Maybe that’s what gets you in the door, but you will be back on the street within a month if you can’t interview or write a story on a deadline.
Another thing that bothers me is how I hear a lot of complaining around campus about how the Scout either doesn’t cover the important issues on campus or how it covers them incorrectly.
If people really feel this way, then why aren’t they writing for the Scout?
We are always looking for new writers, but weeks go by and no one contacts the Scout looking for a chance to flex their writing muscles.
If you don’t want to contribute to the paper, then you shouldn’t critique it.
Jessica Lampe is a senior journalism major from Belleville. She is the Scout head copy editor.
Direct comments, questions and other responses to jlampe@mail.bradley.edu.
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