I am a USC graduate as well as a 2013 VOICES alum and I recently landed my first job at Register Citizen, a newspaper in Torrington, CT under Digital First Media.
AAJA has had a big impact on my young journalism career, especially the VOICES program, which has given me valuable experience in meeting top recruiters like Mandy Jenkins, and top journalists like Yvonne Leow, both from Digital First Media. I attended a luncheon with Jenkins during the 2013 AAJA National Convention, and we talked a lot about the changing industry and our takes on online journalism. Through this conversation I learned that Digital First Media has an innovative outlook on journalism and an ambition to push the digital platform forward, which is something I look for in a company. After the conference, I got to have a phone conversation with Leow, which pointed me further in Digital First Media’s direction.
Programs like VOICES are important to young journalists like me because they give us a chance to be mentored by top-level professionals, report intensively on stories during a national convention and network with journalists from all over the country. My fellow VOICES students and I were taken to the New York bureau of Bloomberg. We also toured the New York Times newsroom and attended a page one meeting there. Sitting down with the top recruiting editor of the Wall Street Journal and Digital First Media and the managing editor of the New York Times, and hearing their stories and advice gave me detailed insight into these outlets.
My mentors Adam Causey and Brian Choo guided me through each day of the program and pushed me forward on my career path. It compensated for what cannot be learned or obtained in school. All of these factors contributed to my landing my first job as a journalist.
You can follow Shako Liu on Twitter @shako_liu