Sunday, November 28, 2004

Making choices

Heading into Thanksgiving weekend I really thought I knew what I was going to do with my schedule next semester. But a long weekend gave me too much time to think, despite the massive amount of homework hanging over me.

How is someone suppose to determine what opportunities are actually best. I have the opportunity to be a part of two amazing internships next semester. They might not be great to some people, but I definitely didn't expect to have a choice in internships for next semester. One is for my minor. I will get six hours class credit, get paid and get to work in the South Carolina state house. The other is with a major news company. I'll get to report, might get paid and I will still work in the South Carolina state house. Normally, the second choice would be a no brainer, getting to report, what I want to do. But for some reason, the one with the class credit keeps popping up in my head as something I should really be a part of next semester.

I'm not asking anyone to make my decisions for me, I am just wondering how do others decide what is best for their future when two really good opportunities are present?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brock Meeks of MSNBC consuls the I Ching and types:

Hi Julia,

Not that my opinion counts for anything but, hell, it's a blog and I've filed my story for the day and I'm waiting for sources to call back and ...

My first question would be: what does the job in the State House involve? If it's just doing gopher work it might not make much sense. But if it's any kind of a job that will put you in direct contact with staffers, with legislators or FUTURE LEGISLATORS or put in a close working relationship with people that are going to be around the State House for a long time, I'd say take the State House job in a heartbeat.

Why? One word: Contacts.

The "dirty little secret" of journalism is that most good stories aren't the result of nose-to-the-grindstone, uncompromising investigative work; most good stories drop out of the sky because of years of cultivating trusted sources in the right places.

(The nose-to-the-grindstone work comes AFTER the story lands in your lap, chasing down leads, digging out fact from fiction, peeling back the layers of the onion, figuring out where your source's bias is and navigating around it... etc., etc.)And spending a term in the State House, it seems to me, would serve you well in cultivating sources. Getting in there BEFORE you become an adversary (read: member of the media.)

You will get plenty of chances to write stories, to work in a newsroom. But you may never get the chance to cultivate sources from the inside. Take that opportunity now. Seems to me it'll pay off in stories and contacts down the line.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

er... of course I meant to write "consults"... (where are the copy editors when you really need them?)

5:00 PM  

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