By Brooke Kelly
I left the Chips Quinn orientation/multimedia training Friday with a newfound optimism. It might sound cheesy or clichéd, but I really was encouraged. Oftentimes, the only insight I hear about the journalism industry is that it’s a very competitive business, print newspapers are dying and people are getting laid off.
What I valued most during my nine days in Nashville, Tenn., with the Chips Quinn staff and scholars was the encouraging atmosphere. One thing I learned from listening to First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson was that, compared to other careers, journalism jobs often are not even making it to the worst-20-careers-to-have-in-a-recession list. I had no idea that some sources were saying architects and construction workers were the hardest hit by the economy.
The other 11 Chips Quinn Scholars and I were encouraged to not “write our own obituaries.” Director of Education at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute Val Hoeppner gave us a presentation on just how much the Internet and mobile technology are changing journalism. She told us of various economists’ predictions that print newspapers could disappear altogether in a few years, save the smallest and largest papers. With the increasing use of mobile devices, Hoeppner emphasized how important it is for us to learn multimedia skills. In response to our fears that the quality of service is suffering during this electronic shift, she gave us the assurance that quality journalism practices will be online in the future. She reminded us that quality often suffers during times of innovation as people figure out how to use new technology.
In addition to encouragement, the Chips Quinn Scholars Program staff offered greatly appreciated multimedia training, writing critiques and exercises and advice on professionalism.
During the nine days, I met great people. The other interns were fun, smart and nice. Listening to industry pioneers, John Seigenthaler and John Quinn, was a special honor. Becoming a Chipster (not a term I made up) has been great! Hopefully, I will keep the momentum going and do great things in the field.