The key is getting experience.
Victor Flores graduated from the School of Journalism and Communication in June 2014 with a degree in journalism. He is currently a sports writer for the Post Register in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Victor came to the UO with the goal of becoming a sports reporter. He enjoyed both sports and writing but knew he needed to hone his writing skills. He didn’t realize the complexities of writing until he took Journalistic Interview with James N. Wallace Chair of Jouralism Peter Laufer. According to Victor, Laufer didn’t sugar-coat his feedback and offered compliments with constructive criticism. This motivated Victor to continually strive to improve his writing.
During his senior year, Victor worked at the Daily Emerald as an associate sports editor and summer editor-in-chief. Although he learned a great deal in his classes, he found, “The journalism school can only do so much to teach journalism. You have to do it. You can’t know what it’s like to work for a daily newspaper until you’re part of one. You can’t understand the rigors of a beat until you have one.”
Victor gained that kind of experience at the Daily Emerald. There he focused on intercollegiate sports, worked with seasoned journalists, collaborated with experienced public relations professionals, and interviewed world-class athletes.
“You learn how to be a journalist quickly in that environment,” he said.
Internships were also an important learning tool. Victor’s internship with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area taught him about web-based sports writing. He believes that experience helped prepare him for his future career. “In our current digital media age, those [web-based writing] skills have gone a long way,” he said.
Victor knew that having the right skills was just one component of the job hunt. Networking and following up on leads were also crucial in landing his current position.
“The journalism school can only do so much to teach journalism. You have to do it.”
At the Post Register, Victor primarily covers prep sports but occasionally writes feature stories about university sports and the local minor league baseball team.
Victor feels very lucky to have his dream job right out of college. His advice to upcoming graduates is: “Put yourself out there … don’t be afraid to move to a small town. The key is getting experience.” Also, marketing oneself well is extremely important. Send out resumes and cover letters without errors. In the application process, talk about and highlight unique skills and experiences. Do everything possible to stand out from the crowd.