Today, we continue to run excerpts from my new book, Always Be Job Hunting to give you the flavor of the book and encourage you to check it out on Amazon.com
Chapter 5: Changing Specialities
Switching specialties within a career can be difficult. I was too naïve when I switched to magazine from newspaper reporting and writing. I didn’t think there’d be much of a difference. After all, I’d written longer newspaper feature stories, how different could magazine writing be?
Very different, as I soon found out. I rushed through my first few assignments thinking I was doing fine. Until the day I ran into the publisher, in the men’s room, a wonderful man who would soon retire, who asked me how things were going. I said fine, but offered that I felt like I didn’t have enough work. He gently suggested it would be ok to take a little more time with my stories. Eventually, I came to realize what he meant. Magazine writing and reporting is a world away from the newspaper work. I had to learn a new specialty within my chosen profession.
While I might interview three or four people for a local newspaper story I now for a national publication and to get a national perspective I might interview 15, 20 or more people for a feature story. This many interviews meant organizing mountains of notes. In my first newspaper job I often organized and wrote 500 word stories in my head as I called in from village board meetings.. Now I was writing 2,000 to 3,000-word stories.
It was a challenge. I needed a narrative theme for a feature story, along with supporting data, and a flair for story telling that often wasn’t needed in a typical newspaper story that contained “just the facts”.
How did I tackle this?