Despite the current state of the news industry, Katherine Jarvis is set on having a long career in journalism.
Kat is an associate editor at The Woodland Daily Democrat and lives in Sacramento, CA. But even though Kat found a job in news after college, she knew it wasn’t going to be an easy career to pursue.
Kat became interested in journalism while studying English at the University of Colorado Denver, where she worked on the student newspaper, The Advocate. After one year, she realized journalism was her true passion and decided to leave Denver to pursue a degree in journalism at Chico State.
However, Kat quickly realized this career path was going to be difficult to pursue. When asked if she ever felt discouraged by the state of the news industry while in college, Kat responded,
“Yes, at times [and] I wasn’t as passionate about it like I thought I would be. But I eventually got support from now [the] Journalism Department Chairwoman, Susan Wiesinger, who helped me get a scholarship that led to my internship at The Oakland Tribune. Once I was working daily at a newspaper, I knew it was what I wanted to do, despite the challenges.”
After the Oakland Tribune internship and graduating from Chico State in 2010, Kat started interning at the Chico Enterprise-Record as a newsroom clerk. Here she met Chico ER Editor, David Little, who recommended she apply to The Woodland Daily Democrat. Four weeks after her Chico ER internship ended, she landed a job as a senior staff writer and was then promoted to an associate editor in 2012.
Despite the state of the news industry, Kat’s diligence helped her land multiple internships, leading to a job doing what she loves. But she also uncovered another key to success is being able to adapt to a changing industry.
“I wish I could have got more experience with online journalism, as that is a larger and larger part of the field, but I think I have developed more skills on that front as I continue to work in the industry.”
And there were other industry challenges Kat had to overcome. She recalls,
“I think the main adjustments I had to make when I first started working full-time at a newspaper was maintaining multiple beats. I knew from my internship experiences that few people had one beat anymore and I was going to have to juggle as many as five beats. It took time to adjust to multiple beats but helped my overall time management skills, which eventually have helped me as an editor.”
Kat managed to adapt to the changes and challenges she came up against, and she attributes this success to her two mentors, Susan Wiesinger and David Little.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today. They encouraged me to grow and pursue opportunities as they arose.”
Because of their guidance, Kat is now working in a field she loves in a position she’s passionate about, saying she enjoys helping other young writers grow.
“I’ve noticed that the critiques my editor Jim Smith told me as a reporter, I am now telling my reporters. I like that I get to influence what news gets reported each day and make sure people get to see as many important stories that can fit in the newspaper (as well as online). I love getting to know people in the community and reporting the stories you might not always hear about but also the ones everyone is covering…”
Although Kat is thriving, she knows that other young pros pursuing jobs in similar industries may feel discouraged, but she thinks if they’re passionate enough, they will find a job.
“Make connections wherever you can. Pursue internships that could lead to job opportunities but also just for the experience. E-mail [professionals] you admire and often they will respond and help you. Attend conferences even if it costs money (some will provide scholarships if necessary). Do freelance work…and fine-tune your skills and eventually someone will notice…”
Even after she found a job, Kat is still passionate about staying informed about her industry. In July 2011, she attended the Reporters Institute in Florida, where she connected with other young journalists. She also learned necessary skills to succeed in journalism today, such as social media, multimedia and research. After attending, she said continuing to educate herself about her field confirmed her love for it even more.
Kat is proof that if you’re willing to be persistent, realize opportunities, and adapt to change, you won’t have to write off the career you want.