The Panelists:

Stephen Fried, Moderator

Why you should be impressed: Fried was the Managing Editor for Street before working for Philadelphia magazine, where he served for two years as Editor–in–Chief, and wrote for national publications, including Vanity Fair, GQ, and Rolling Stone. He is also the two–time winner of the National Magazine Award. Fried now writes non–fiction books and teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Best quote:

“Every era has said that it’s all over. It’s not over...It’s a selective field, it will always be a selective field. Anyone who tells you it’s all over is wrong.”

Melody Kramer

Why you should be impressed: After writing a column for the DP and working for the Punchbowl, Kramer won a fellowship at NPR. She now works there as an editor and digital strategist.

Best quote:

“It’s okay not to get a job in journalism right away...There’s no right way to do this. There’s no wrong way to do this.”

Sabrina Rubin Erdely

Why you should be impressed: After serving as the Managing Editor for Street, Sabrina started working for Philadelphia magazine right after graduation. Her work has appeared in SELF, GQ, The New Yorker, Mother Jones, Glamour and Men’s Health, among others. She currently contributes to Rolling Stone.

Best quote:

“I worked a year for free. I was waiting tables. My overnight success story wasn’t glamorous at all.”

Maria PopovaWhy you should be impressed: Maria runs the website Brainpickings.com, a site that fuses Maria’s insight on “forgotten books” with lessons on how to live a meaningful life. She started Brainpickings as a junior at Penn, when she wrote a newsletter that she sent to seven friends. She now has 7 million readers a month.

Best quote:

“A good writer’s job is not to know, but to wonder.”

Their top tips:

1. Spend as much time as possible working at the DP and Street.

2. Don’t feel torn between the world of the Kelly Writers House and the world of the DP. To acquire the skill set you need for a career in media, you have to immerse yourself in both.

3. Intern, intern, intern. Think about what you do in your summers. There are lots of Penn alums you can reach out to, and connections from the university can land you some pretty sweet summer gigs.

4. Don’t forget to read. Many young people don’t realize that in order to write good journalism, they need to be reading good journalism. Take advantage of the Penn library and get through the paywall on the world’s top magazine sites, or go to Twitter and search for #longreads.

5. Take a wide variety of classes. Stephen Fried said the most useful class he took at Penn was macroeconomics; other panelists wished they had taken more statistics classes. Feel free to explore.

6. Your major and GPA don’t matter for journalism. Really. No one will ask about them.

7. Everyone who now works in media has a presence online. At the very least, make a blog (tumblr works), and post your clips there.

8. Read The New York Times’ Innovation Report.

9. You don’t neccessarily have to work for the biggest organization that will hire you. If you work for a small company, you have a better chance at autonomy, and possibly a better chance at defining your own sucess. Do what works for you.

10. Follow the Online News Association conference from September 25 to September 27 by going to twitter and searching for #ONA14. Lots of people will probably live tweet the conference, and it’s a good way to stay informed about the current media landscape.


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