Tips of the Trade

I like to think that I’m a pretty decent journalist, and like any decent journalist that attends one of the ACP conferences, I packed a notebook to write down what the speakers talked about in their respective sessions. After hours of sitting in conference rooms listening to some of the greatest journalism minds in the country give presentations on how to be a better reporter, I was glad that I packed two notebooks.

However, I found that the most important lessons that I learned at ACP probably didn’t require a notebook at all. They just stuck with me. Even now after I’ve been given a chance to get some rest and decompress, I don’t even need to review my notes to remember the majority of the things I learned.

New interviewing techniques, better ways to report on tragic and sensitive issues, writing to present solutions rather than just document a problem, and the tools I need to be a more effective multimedia journalist were a few of the things that I learned at the conference.

I would say the most valuable thing that I learned at the conference was how to separate myself when I look to get internships and jobs in the future. I learned from a couple of experts including a former Washington Post recruiter on what employers are looking for in future interns and employees.

I learned that resumes aren’t really something to stress over too much because employers usually only use them to see work experience and gather questions for an interview. Cover letters are even considered more important than resumes because they give the applicant a shot to showcase a taste of their personality to a potential employer.

Employers are looking at how well an interviewee can fit into their work environment so remember that interviews always start when you get into the lobby. Also never be afraid to ask questions, it’s an interview not an interrogation, and always shoot them a phone call or email thanking them before the sun sets on the day that you’re interviewed.

ACP had a ton of valuable info to draw from. I will probably still be looking over my notes months from now recalling important details and anecdotes. The conference gave me a chance to see where I’m at as far as my own skill set is concerned and where I could be. By applying the lessons I learned at ACP I will not only become a better journalist, but a better professional as well.

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