The dark side: from journalism to marketing

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I wasn't one of those people who always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I thought I wanted to be a toll booth worker for awhile when I was six, but that job became less and less appealing as I grew older. Why it was appealing in the first place, I don't know. Also they don't have majors for toll booth-ery (at least not that I know of?) so that got scratched off the list. The whole process of choosing a major was, in fact, kind of intimidating. I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise and choosing a major seemed to be the first step towards a career, so basically I was clueless. I started the process of choosing a major by coming up with a list of things I enjoyed doing. Writing topped the list, so I started leaning towards an English or Journalism major. Anderson Cooper's Dispatches from the Edge was what finally tipped the scales for me. I'll admit, reading that book romanticized journalism a little in my mind. But, mostly, I loved that with journalism I wasn't really committing to one thing. Through writing, I could cover a variety of subjects and learn a little about a lot. I still wasn't sure if this was a career I wanted to pursue, but doing it for the next four years didn't seem too daunting of a thought, so journalism it was.  

Not long after I started journalism school, I realized that I definitely did not want to be a journalist. I liked my classes and I was interested in what I was learning, but I hated the lifestyle of a journalist and the never-ending news cycle. I hated being within hours of a deadline and still waiting for sources to get back to me. I hated how everyone talked about print being dead.

On the other hand, I loved learning how to write like a journalist and the excessive focus on grammar. I learned so many new things as I worked my way through a story. And I definitely loved seeing my byline in print for the first time. 

Knowing all of this, I started searching for ways I could apply my journalism degree to something other than reporting the news. I was crossing over to the dark side. Not because print is dead. Not because newspapers are going out of business. Not because I could never get a job as a reporter. It was because I didn't love being a journalist. And if there's one thing I learned in college, it's that to be a good journalist you have to love what you do. 

My last year of college, I applied for an internship with a a local marketing agency. Within a few weeks, they hired me and I started my first "real" job. I knew nothing about marketing, but I knew how to write and I was determined to make this journalism degree work for me. 

A year and a half later, I work for that same agency as a copywriter, social media editor and marketing specialist. I whip out my AP Style skills every day. I delete Oxford commas whenever I see them and wreak havoc when I see the word "utilize" in a sentence.  I take a little extra time to search for the original source of something to make sure it's accurate. I tweet, email, blog, pin, edit, but mostly, I write. All day, everyday, I do the thing that got me here in the first place. 

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  1. I loved reading this! Our paths are very similar! I was taking classes for a journalism major when I realized it wasn't for me (but I also love writing and grammar), then I switched to advertising & marketing. So many of my coworkers were journalism majors! I think it's a great fit. :)


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