In career school

Why you should probably get a job at your college paper

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If your major is journalism, business, advertising, marketing, communication, broadcast journalism, photography, English, communication technologies, studio art, administration or anything of the kin, you should probably get a job at your college paper. 

I'm on my third semester this summer working at The Shorthorn. I started –straight out of high school– as the liberal arts reporter, then moved to the life and entertainment editor, and now I'm copy editing and page designing.

Working at your college paper is probably one of the best things you can do during your time in school for a few reasons.

1. It gives you clips and hands on experience – I don't even want to be a journalist when I graduate –something I know only because I worked at the paper, but more on that later. But I do have a nice little stack of writing clips to give to an employer in a pinch. I also have graphic design and copy edit clips from my various jobs throughout the newsroom. Experience is what makes you stand out after graduation. If two journalism graduates apply for a job, the one with more experience gets the job. We had a professional speak to us last semester who said he doesn’t look at resumes without experience, and your student paper is the place to get it. Even if you only have a semester before you graduate, any experience is better than no experience.

2. You get to meet and interact with professionals at your university and in your community – There are some pretty amazing people at UTA, and working as a reporter gave me the opportunity to learn what they're all about. My one semester as a liberal arts reporter I got to meet a theater professor working with robots, students who were spending hundreds of dollars to put on their own production, a jazz professor who used pots and pans to record a CD, and a professor who specialized in theatrical combat. I’ve also gotten to interact with the student congress president, the former dean of my college and the president of the university. Use your time on campus to create a network from the people around you. Working at the paper also gives you the chance to meet and work with students with the same interest as you, something you can't get paying for a sorority.

But it’s not just people on campus; working at the paper has also connected me with professionals around the metroplex. The Shorthorn is really good about bringing in the movers and shakers in the industry. 

3. You get to practice writing – As a college student, writing is one of our most valuable skills. Journalistic writing is very different from what I write here on The College Girl Daily and completely different from what you do in English class. Journalistic writing is suppose to be clear and to the point, and communicating this way in your writing makes you stand out post graduation. 

4. Scholarships and travel – The Shorthorn is really good about scholarships, not just having them but connecting us to others in the area. Since beginning at the paper, I’ve received over $1000 in scholarships plus got to travel to the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference in San Antonio last spring. I’m not saying you’re gonna get rich working at your college paper–not at all actually–, but there are some pretty sweet perks out there.

5. You don’t have to be a reporter – It took me two semesters to realize I didn’t want to be a reporter post graduation. My main reason being I like knowing when my job is done instead of always being able to find follow up stories. The only reason I know this is because I got into the newsroom early. I would have been up a creek after graduation with my Journalism degree in hand had I not realized this.

 But there’s so much that goes into a newsroom besides reporting. Our paper has a professional caliber advertising and marketing department where people get tons of experience selling to companies in our community. I work as a copy editor and page designer, who checks things for style and designs how the paper looks. We also have a group of people who work with web design creating micro sites like this one.

There are tons of jobs in the newsroom that you probably wouldn't know about. Spend a few minutes researching your school paper to see what jobs they have to offer.

Disclaimer: It takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it – Working at your college paper isn’t going to be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. There is so much to learn in the newsroom and there’s plenty of room to make mistakes. I’d much rather make a mistake at my college paper than in my professional career. Working at the paper can be stressful at times, especially when you're taking on a lot of classes. But it puts you heads and shoulders above your classmates in terms of professionalism, experience, clips, scholarships and more.

I encourage you to look into the paper at your university this coming fall. If you have any questions what it’s like working at a paper, or how to balance working at the paper with school, feel free to email me at

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  1. I was thinking about joining my schools paper, and this post totally made me want to join it for sure! thank you so much :) xx, kenz