Career Development Plan

Where I would love to work

Firstly I would like to state that whatever publication I start working on will be fine, as I am looking to gain experience and learn from the more experienced journalists. I enjoy covering both International news like conflicts as well as sports and entertainment, which is pretty clear from my blog.

However, I obviously have some places in my mind that I’d love to work in. The top three in my mind are CNN and Sky News, as a more general and breaking news environment, and ESPN for sports.  CNN has been revolutionising the world of journalism since it was founded in 1980, becoming the very first 24 hour news network on television.  Just the simple history of the channel is incredible and inspiring. According to http://www.Britannica.com, Ted Turner, the founder and owner of the network, decided to challenge those who told him that 24 hour news was impossible. Looking back now, with so many all news channels, even in Arabic with Al Jazeera and many other countries – almost any country in the world today has at least one 24 hour news network – we realise how Turner was as much as a visionary as Steve Jobs, and he was right. CNN changed the way we consume news. CNN had a significant impact on society and many other news organisations followed its steps shortly after the 80s.

Today, CNN is developing constantly to make the news up to date with the latest technologies and trends. I love the fact that the channel, even though it’s US based, always tries to be as International as possible, and after its success it expanded worldwide. As of now we have CNN headquarters in London with the CNN International feed as well as different languages like CNN Arabic and CNN in Spanish. CNN was the first to break the news with live video many times, including the 9/11 attacks. Its graphics and audio production are catchy and cured to make the news entertaining as well. Is a place where many journalists had the chance to succeed in the business and make a name for themselves, like Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper.

What I like about Sky News is its neutrality, even if owned by right wing media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. The professionalism and sobriety of the newscasts have always been a great example of fine broadcasting journalism in my mind. Personally, I do not recall Sky News going too far on a report.

Looking at the sports world, CNN’s closest thing is ESPN. The very first place that was all about sports, and only about sports. They dared to say what other networks where scared to say, which is that sports news is as important and challenging as regular news. It could’ve been a disaster, a flop. Instead the channel became so popular that since 2013 ESPN reaches over 97 million households in the US. In Addition, it has a launched many  other networks that include ESPN 2, ESPN classic – dedicated to historical moments in sports- ESPNNews, an all sports news channel, and ESPN UK, a British version. What I love most about it is the passion that comes through most reporters and anchors working there. They love doing their job, and they cannot get enough of it. Even if that requires working overnight, all day or travel around the US to cover events. Passion is the key word and the channel’s staff is always an inspiration for me, from radio to broadcast to online columns.

One journalist that always inspired me was Stuart Scott at ESPN. Unfortunately he passed away last year at the age of 49 due to cancer, but he will always be remembered by his audience. He was a real hard worker, not just a cliche’ hard worker that goes overtime. His mentality was as strong as the athletes he covered. Being one of the first black man anchors on ESPN was a big deal back when he joined the network in 1993. What made him unique was his style of presenting: entertaining, strong, and with a “rappish” cadence – he basically inserted hip hop lyrics in highlights, blending two passions of his, music and journalism – that no other anchor would’ve dared to implement on air. Seen as a fool at start, he became soon one of the channel’s top sportscasters. He always remarked how he could never get tired of working at ESPN, since there is nothing else he wanted to do as a job. I remember him saying in a Sportscenter interview that “as long as you love what you do, you will do it the restless way and push the boundaries”. That was something that inspired me to pursue a career in Journalism. He did push the boundaries eventually, especially when his illness became an obstacle on the job.  Another journalist that I admire at ESPN is Stephen A. Smith, who’s got tons of experience in covering the NBA and lots of talent broadcasting wise as well as in column writing.  After Scott died, on his ESPN2 show “First Take” he shared a story of when he saw Scott memorising scripts for Sportscenter and asked him why he was doing that. Scott allegedly replied that his vision started to fade so much he could not read the teleprompter well, so to avoid leaving the show that he loved to present daily he’d memorise what he was supposed to just read. To me, this is the definition of passion and hard work. ESPN has that kind of environment, or at least it looks that way.

Here’s a video of Stuart Scott on air covering highlights of Kobe Bryant’s historical 81 points game against the raptors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q0lX42EHdA

A short documentary of Scott’s legacy:

 

A good example of Stephen A’s Smith outspoken and direct writing style is in this piece, which discusses the rise of Steve Kerr as an NBA coach.

What Kind of journalist I want to be

Having sad already that I like general breaking news , if I had to specialise I’d cover sports but there is still a long way to go. In general though, I would prefer working in broadcasting as it was my dream since I was little. News anchor, radio host and sportcaster are the positions I’d want to do in the future, and I will do my best to accomplish that. However, I also considered a more background position that circumnavigates the business side of the media.

Getting the stories right out there on the field is my idea of authentic and passionate journalism, and I’d rather do that than sit on my couch with a laptop, although I do not mind working in the office as long as I’m doing something I love. Thinking back at Matt Thompson’s 4 kinds of journalists, I think I’d be a mix of all of them. I’d like to try to be an interesting personality, particularly if working on air.  I believe it is important to be flexible and open to different ways of making the news, especially in a fast paced digital world that keeps morphing the interpersonal relationships between individuals year by year. Social media revolutionised the way we talk, and at the same time the way news organisations communicate through their audiences, and being able to communicate one way in print or TV and another online is important in my mind.

What skills I need to develop to become who I want to be

I am pretty sure that the main thing to develop in the first place is proper journalistic writing. Everywhere I hear that writing is important, and It should be that way. No matter what medium, knowing how to write will help you succeed in this business. Writing is  a core element of Journalism,  like water on earth. Is at the heart of the media. Besides, even in broadcasting it might happen that one will read his own scripts.  Secondly, I think timing during broadcasting sessions is something easy to learn, but that it must be practiced. When I did smoke radio for the first time, our University’s radio station, I realised how important timing was between skits and songs. Finally,practicing on camera and radio newscasts is something I consider relevant to the development of the skills required to the jobs I mentioned above.

How will I do that? Well, a lot of resources are available at the University. First of all, the writing is at the core of the course as well and therefore with time and hard work I believe I will get to a higher level of writing. Then, getting involved with Smoke Radio is something I love doing and that I believe can teach me a lot, especially with the practical aspect of radio.

Yet, It is my understanding that the best way to learn these skills will be a work placement. Nothing is better than a direct watch and learn approach, and learning from more experienced journalists is only possible by taking part in a placement. Therefore, I strongly believe that Internships are the engine of what could be a good career.

Media Diets

A media diet is what we consume in the media, the kind of journalism that we look at on a daily basis. As of now, to be inspired, and to try to learn how the job is done, I follow mainly CNN, BBC News, ESPN, NFL Network, Sky News, The Bleacher Report, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The London Evening Standard and The New York Times, all of which in both online and broadcast as well as print when applicable. Additionally, there are tons of other media I follow with much less frequency, such as the Independent, The Financial Times, Forbes, Buzzfeed, and many other publications that appear on news gathering platforms Google News and SmartNews on smartphones. Only if reliable, news that appears on social media too.