Graduate to Editor: You can do it too

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Art by Annemarie Mullet

Lindsey Burns, Staff Writer

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Linfield alumnus, Jonathan Williams, joined Professor Jennifer Rauch’s media writing class on Wednesday November 11th, to reveal what life can be like post-graduation.

Williams graduated from Linfield in May of 2017, and has already secured a job as associate editor at The Astorian, a newspaper located on the northern Oregon coast. 

As an undergraduate student, Williams double majored in English and Mass Communications. Throughout his 4 years at Linfield, he was involved with The Linfield Review. In addition, Williams was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Linfield’s swim team and played the viola with the chamber ensemble.

“I joined the paper as a freshman. The position was open and it seemed like a fun thing to do,” Williams said. He became the news editor his sophomore year, and served as editor-in-chief as a junior and the second semester of his senior year. 

He also participated in two internships while in undergrad, one of which was with OPB’s “State of Wonder,” their weekly arts and culture radio segment. Williams was especially interested in stories focusing on the local music scene.

The Astorian editor strongly emphasized the power of initiative and motivation, especially when searching for jobs and internships. “They’re not kidding when they say start looking now,” he said. “There are lots of ways to get your foot in the door.” Williams advised students to contact local newspapers and magazines that they find interesting, and to create opportunities where there are none. “Anyone can make their own newsletter,” he added. 

His three biggest pieces of advice for aspiring journalists are to branch out into different areas of study, gain experience in the field, and get involved in extracurriculars. This is what he looks for when hiring interns, but it’s also advice that he took himself.

“If you can show that you’re really persistent and that you know what you’re talking about, you will get where you want to go,” Williams said.

After graduating, Williams spent a year in New York pursuing a Master’s in Journalism at Syracuse University. “I really enjoyed spending a year on the east coast,” Williams said. “I think for me, it was about getting more experience in the areas I needed to fill in.”

With the completion of his Master’s, Williams returned to Oregon and freelanced for nine months before joining the staff at The Astorian. Williams shared that being an editor at The Linfield Review isn’t too different from being an editor at a local newspaper. 

When time allows, he really enjoys feature writing. According to Williams, “the bonus of being at a small news organization is being able to do things you want to do.” He can then receive personal feedback from his employer and colleagues, something he wouldn’t receive much of if he worked at a larger news organization.

William’s final piece of advice for students was “it’s good to have a plan– or multiple plans– for when you graduate.”