Advice for grads from Yale j-director, ESPN's Reilly

Good Men Project Magazine | Westword

"Have humble expectations," says Yale Journalism Initiative director Mark Oppenheimer. "Your first job will pay you too little, I promise." He points out that for a job interview, flip-flops aren't acceptable and "piercings that look painful enough to make people wince may cost you jobs. Employers do not want their first impression of you to be what an individual you are."


At the University of Colorado, ESPN's Rick Reilly was picked to speak to the journalism school's last graduating class. He said to them:

So, you guys are the last graduating class from the CU J-school. And I'm the last Distinguished Alumnus guy from this place. I feel like we're christening the Hindenburg here. It's like, 'Hey, congratulations, you made the last really good buggy whip! Turn off the lights when you leave, OK?'

When you get out there, all I ask is that you: DON'T WRITE FOR FREE! Nobody asks strippers to strip for free, doctors to doctor for free or professors to profess for free. Have some pride! What you know how to do now is a skill that 99.9 percent of the people don't have. If you do it for free, they won't respect you in the morning. Or the next day. Or the day after that. You sink everybody's boat in the harbor, not just yours. So just DON'T!

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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