Student publications—a great place to learn
Wyatt Stayner graduated in June 2014 from the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. He is currently a staff writer at The Herald, a newspaper in Jasper, Indiana.
During his first year at UO, he found he enjoyed writing and chose journalism as a major, focusing on print media. “I like how visual writing is, even though it’s only text. A great magazine story feels like you’re reading a movie.”
Participating in Flux magazine was the best experience he had in college. He recommends working on a student publication. It allows students freedom but great instruction as well. “It’s a great place to go screw up and learn from it,” Wyatt says.
He also credits Lisa Heyamoto as his most influential professor. “Lisa is great at finding your talent and helping you maximize it….she’s able to criticize your work and make it better, without making you feel bad in the process.”
Additionally, Wyatt gained experience through internships. His first internship was with Weld for Birmingham, a small newspaper in Alabama. He enjoyed working at a smaller publication because he was highly involved with its production. He provided content instead of just doing “grunt work.”
“I highly recommend starting with an internship at a publication that is small, because the stakes are low. You’ll be allowed to make mistakes, but just as important, you’ll also get to work on bigger stories.”
After his first internship, Wyatt moved on to intern at 5280, the city magazine of Denver. Here, he refined his skills writing short calendar entries and learned to pay attention to details through fact checking. “I think it’s good to have an internship at a small publication and one at a big publication….the smaller internship provides more writing opportunities, while the bigger one teaches you what it takes to work for a regional or national publication.”
During his job search, Wyatt applied for 10 different newspaper jobs across the country. Wyatt is really enjoying his current position. He gets to work on a variety of stories and is an integral part of the staff. He is constantly writing and reporting with a lot of creative freedom to “think outside the box.” His biggest piece of advice for students who are job hunting is to be open to moving; it will expand job options “tremendously.”