When the job search began, I told myself to get as far away from Alabama as I possibly could. Not that there’s anything wrong with this great state. We have some delicious dishes, beautiful landscapes, good ole southern hospitality, and a rockin’ football team. Roll Tide!
But I’ve lived here my entire life. I’m an adventurer, one who’s not afraid of going out on my own and trying new things. I embrace change, which is why I applied all over the country during my last few weeks in grad school. Portland, Oregon; Lafeyette, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina. I was selling myself like a hooker. Throwing myself out there to potential buyers and waiting for someone to come along and pick me up, for the right price, of course.
But they were all failed attempts. I received only one callback from a small-town paper in Brownsville, Tennessee. Apparently my price was too high. They couldn’t afford to hire a journalist with a Masters. After weeks of rejection, I decided it was time to let it go and see what my home state had to offer. So far, I earned 4 callbacks and 3 interviews. But never in a million years did I see myself working in Alabama.
Like most graduates, I just knew I’d find some great (or not-so-great) job in some cool town somewhere far away. I had it all planned out. I’ll get a job as an entertainment reporter in some artsy town on the West Coast, meet some cool, artsy people, hang out at cool, artsy places, enjoying a glass of wine and a good book after a long day at work in my loft that overlooks downtown, selling paintings and my photography at a hip, little shop close by. Just living my life the way I intended.
And here I am, residing in Tuscaloosa, once again, and interviewing at places in Birmingham and Huntsville. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. You just got to take things as they are. Which brings me to today’s excursion.
My dream job is so close, I can taste it. After 2 hours, 156.2 miles, I arrived at The Huntsville Times in Huntsville, (not so) Alabama to meet with Anthony Cook, the new “hub cap” at The Times. For those of you who don’t know, The Huntsville Times, The Birmingham News, and The Mobile Press Register went through a number of changes these past few months. They have cut back on their days of circulation and made quite a few layoffs.
But in addition to those drawbacks, Alabama Media Group, a digitally focused, journalistically driven company, formed to fill in those gaps that will be left behind due to cutbacks. Now the paper is making its attempt to tackle the ever-changing world of journalism. Reporters and photographers are no longer abiding by their editors’ commands. Instead, they can take charge of their own job, selling and branding themselves as a journalist. The office no longer exists. The world is their office. They find their own assignments, edit them as needed, and publish them directly to the web. They are taking charge, attempting to cover their community through their own perspective.
It’s an intriguing concept, one I hope works and one that I am a little hesitant of. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to take a risk or two in order to survive in the digital world.
So, what does that mean for me as a new journalist coming into the field? More opportunities and more freedom. I can finally take everything I’ve learned, add a few of my own ideas, and successfully establish myself.
And the job comes equipped with a new laptop and Motorola Razr which functions as a personal hotspot. That’s pretty sweet, if you ask me.
Personally, it sounds like a great fit for me. I’m all about showcasing my talents and exemplifying initiative. I desire freedom in my workplace. What more could a new-age journalist, like myself, ask for? Now all I have to do is be patient for a little while longer and spend the next few weeks hoping I’m the one they want.