I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated. But after talking to the 2009 St. Thomas Irving Chair of Journalism, Stevie Cameron, (for just five minutes) things were clearer. I’m not big on writing or being on camera, so I quickly realized I had to move to Toronto and find a multimedia job.
I had a phone interview with the people at Canadian Living magazine and before I knew it, I had graduated and was an unpaid intern at CanadianLiving.com. Things seemed to be going quite well at first and interning at one of the biggest magazines in Canada seemed very prestigious at the time. But before I knew it my 2-month internship at CanadianLiving.com turned into 4 months because I couldn’t find work anywhere else. I was applying for up to 10 jobs/day without hearing anything back. And I was quickly starting to hate life as an intern.
I was just about to give up and become a full time lifeguard because I was running out of money, when I got a call from Cottage Life. They were looking for a web intern and they were going to pay me! I quickly accepted and two weeks into my 12-week internship, they decided to scrap the internship and gave me a full time position. I am now the Assistant Web Editor for four magazines’ websites: Cottage Life, Explore, Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada. I love my job, the people I work with, Toronto, and collecting a pay cheque twice a month. Things couldn’t have gone any better.
The people behind the journalism program at St. Thomas University helped me a lot. I learned the basics of journalism and took full advantage of the technical elements of the program. I am very glad I focused on TV and radio journalism because it taught me more skills and made me a more well-rounded candidate for jobs in the real world. Having my own online portfolio helped a great deal as well. Technology is becoming a bigger part of journalism everyday, so I am glad STU gave me a chance to learn how to use it.
Learning the art of journalism was a huge part of my time spent at STU, but there are many other ways to get involved in the journalism program. One thing I will never regret is befriending my professors and guest lecturers. Networking is almost as important as being a good journalist. If I could offer one piece of advice to future STU journalism students, it would be to talk to these role models. They have been in your shoes and succeeded in having great journalism careers. They know what you are going through and can offer a wealth of knowledge.
One last piece of advice – do any internship you are offered. They might not pay you and it isn’t very glamorous, but it gets you where you need to go!
Megan Siegel….Class of 2009