It’s always good to take job hunting advice from people who actually have jobs they don’t hate.
I can’t be sure any of the ESPN panelists don’t hate their jobs. I didn’t ask. The passion was there, so I’m comfortable with my lede.
In a personal conversation with Wright Thompson beforehand, he reminded me of the virtue of space. “There’s a great benefit to letting things just sit,” he said, referring to an article he was working on that he simply wanted to think about on his trip back to Mizzou.
The panelists — Gary Hoenig, Rob King, and MU grad Thompson —echoed much of the sentiment found in this ICM piece on job info.
All three mentioned collaboration.
Hoenig wants contributors in the magazine process to exit the silos, what Thompson later called a “series of fiefdoms.” King preferred “cylinders of excellence.” Bottom line: grab your pen and pitchfork and head west to the land of creative combination.
Thompson emphasized that the MU j-school had prepared him well; the stress level actually receded in his first job. He’s also good at what he does. Quite helpful as his fellow panelist pointed out.
“If you have an incredible writing voice,” Hoenig said, “there will be room for you on these devices.”
Darwin could was actually describing our industry in his seminal work. Journalists survive by adaptation.
King advised us to be aware of our role in products, the business side, starting with our audience. “The best path is to solve someone else’s problem.”
Thompson then set out an incredibly novel theory concerning platforms.
“You tell a different story at the Heidelberg than at Sunday school, than to your mom, than to your friends. That’s what a platform is.”
He added that newbies should think of themselves, in the “strangely Orwellian” term, as content providers.
“No matter the delivery mechanism,” Thompson said, “there is that fundamental story telling that never, ever changes.”
Gosh, sounds like the title of my blog.
King, however, provided the most heartening advice of anyone during the day. His comments were the best I’ve heard in my time as a journalist.
From 20 to 30, “you’re gonna be ten different people. A lot’s going to happen. Give yourself that.
“It’s going to work out. You just don’t know how yet.”
[imagine an audio track here, as the entire room burst into applause]
It was great.
Now tell me you aren’t ready to go wrestle the moon down to Earth after that half-time speech.