"The key skills of introductory journalism courses - research, critical
thinking, organizing, and clear expression - are also the key skills that the
university tries, but often fails, to teach all students as part of their
liberal education. Indeed journalists have refined these skills to a much
higher degree than have people in many other disciplines." Betty Medsger, Winds of Change
I can't remember when I updated you last, but in January I got hired as a Legislative Aide
for a law firm in Minneapolis. I helped their Gov Relations team at the state capitol
throughout the legislative session - sitting in on committee hearings, writing client reports,
tracking bills. It was great experience, as I'd never done legislative work before.
When session ended in May, the firm asked me to stay on. I've been doing a bit
more administrative work since then, but they give me political stuff when it comes up
(since session is over it's not as busy). I think it's a good place for right now - it's full-time
with benefits, so even the office work is worth it. Plus, I'm meeting good people and
they've said they don't want to lose me - so maybe I can get back to the capitol
again next year.
As for the skills I was taught at USF that have come in handy at work - everything!
But I would say specifically the journalism courses because a big part of the
legislative work I did required good writing skills; it was the main thing the firm
looked for and I had to submit writing samples. So although I'm not reporting,
I did have to be able to follow complex issues at the Capitol and write about
them for clients in a way that made sense to people who didn't follow politics on a daily basis.
An interesting story on social media: A Repub state senator here in MN used
Twitter to post what a Dem senator had said during a floor debate on budget
issues - the only problem was, the Repub completely misquoted her colleague
and it become a huge controversy because the Twitter post had the Dem saying
negative things about the disabled (which never actually happened). It was
taken up by the Senate Ethics Committee and got lots of media attention.
Just another reminder about the potential pitfalls of social media, if used carelessly.