Thursday, July 23, 2009

A call to journalists who've left newspapers: Share how you reinvented yourself

My series, "Pulitzers lost, what a cost," prompted a great suggestion from a reporter I worked with at the Rocky Mountain News.

"The business is changing. Delivery is changing. Jobs aren't coming back. And if we don't have a masters, we're not going to be teaching at a university level. We have to completely reinvent ourselves. That's what I'd like to read about. All the journalists who got downsized and created a new life for themselves," Judi Villa wrote me.

So consider this a request for submissions. If you're a journalist who has reinvented yourself and want to share your experience with others, please send me a short column on how you did it and what you learned. I'm looking for 300-400 words. A picture of you in your new role would be much appreciated.

I welcome input on how best to execute the idea. I'll figure out how to present these after seeing how many submissions I get initially.

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  2. Although my reinvention began a while ago, John, I'm sure you remember how I moved on in the early 90s to become a teacher. However, I kept my hand in journalism as a free lance sports writer (and monthly columnist at the Tribune).
    I still love journalism and wanted to get back into it full time in 2007, but by this point, the economy (and newspapers) fell apart, and an opportunity to join the East Valley Tribune as an education reporter fell through.
    Thus, I decided to remain in education, but I am in my seventh of ten online classes to get my Master's degree and expect to finish in December or February 2010. Then, taking my years of journalism and education, I am going forth with plans to at least become an adjunct professor in journalism or communications. Since colleges are scaling back full time professors, I do not expect to find such a position and instead expect to remain as a high school English teacher and adjunct.
    If a full-time opportunity does come up, I will pursue it. In the meantime, I still help young prospective journalists at the high school level develop their craft and teach them to a) become strong researchers and writers and b) learn as much about the web and related computer tech as possible. It has been exciting to send students forward, but they do go with a warning and a disclaimer: they must excel at what they do as soon as they can, as the opportunities will be few and fortunate.
    I also am moving forward with learning and teaching other educators how to use media technology to reinforce class instruction.
    - Cary L. Tyler, AZ

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