Advice from Arden Zwelling (served cold)
Journalism is far from a glamorous pursuit. If you want to be really good at it and make a living from it, you’re going to have to endure a lot. It’s not the ninth ring of Dante’s Inferno or anything. It’s just close. I want to make it clear this ain’t no walk in the park.
Are you ready to work for next-to-nothing for an extended period of time early in your career? Are you willing to pull the late nights (like 3 a.m. late), early mornings (like 6 a.m. early), working lunches (it’s okay to type with your mouth full) and dinners on the go (just don’t eat and drive) that are an ultimate byproduct of this pursuit? Are you prepared to make some drastic sacrifices in the amount of time you spend with your family and friends? Are you ready to pick up a large, complex story on a subject you likely don’t completely understand and turn it out in a well-researched, informative and balanced fashion within just a couple of hours? If you’re going to cut your teeth in hard news like I did, are you ready to deal with death, pain, anguish, evil, hate, injustices and inhumane crimes on a daily basis? Are you ready to be lied to, generally disliked and told you’re an idiot by a magnitude of people?
These are the questions you have to ask yourself. Journalism can be extraordinarily rewarding for those that are good at it. But it can be a real nightmare if you’re not aware of what you’re getting into. I don’t mean to take the cynical route with this thing. I just want to be honest.
Editor’s note: Arden’s entry is just about 4 pages long, and he asked me to select a portion to share. Instead, I’ve decided to give you the option of reading the full text version of his advice. Aspiring sports journalists, pay special attention.
- Name: Arden Zwelling, 23, Toronto, ON
- J-school: In final year of Media and Information at the University of Western Ontario
- Current/Past employers: UWO Gazette (news writer, sports editor, associate editor), the Canadian Football League (staff writer, featured columnist), Major League Baseball (associate reporter), The Score (blogger, blog editor, web editor), Sports XPress (editor), CHRW 94.9 FM (radio host)
- Publications: UWO Gazette, CFL.ca, MLB.com, thescore.com, Sports XPress
- Platforms: Print, web, radio, television
- Web: http://blogs.thescore.com/cis, http://wgaz.ca/zwellin, http://wgaz.ca/blogthevote, www.ardenzwelling.com
- Twitter: @ArdenZwelling
- Work samples: