The next generation of journalists graduated in 2020 into a challenging job market unlike any other. We spotlighted them this summer, shared advice from their role models, and are checking in with them this month to see where they are now and what they’re learning about journalism.
Name: Jishnu Nair
School: Syracuse University
Current job: Digital content producer, CBS21 News
Journalism goals: Break into a specialized beat
Where are you working right now? Is the position full-time, part-time or an internship?
Nair: I am working full-time as a digital content producer for CBS21 News, based in Harrisburg, PA. My main responsibilities are writing web stories, keeping us up to date on social media and our app, and serving as the weekend assignment editor.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?
Nair: The biggest lesson I learned is how much the little things matter — things like reaching out with an email, even if there wasn’t an opening, to keep in touch. That’s how I landed this job, by keeping in touch with the assistant news director even though the station didn’t have openings.
What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?
Nair: Undoubtedly, working before the election. I consider myself lucky to have started before Election Day, and even though I was technically in training on the night of, it was an awesome experience to be in a professional environment for the first time during election coverage.
What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?
Nair: I think the most important things you can learn on the job, like integrating into a community, aren’t really things you can teach in class — that’s something everyone has to figure out how to do on their own. The biggest thing I have learned, however, is reading court documents — it’s important to figure out how your area makes these documents accessible (i.e. through PACER or their own sites) and then also figure out which documents are notable updates and which ones are just regular court proceedings, among other things.
Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?
Nair: Slightly, for now — I want to use the experience with breaking news situations and clips I gain here at CBS21 to hopefully move into a breaking news/general assignment reporting role at a local newspaper, and then from there progress into a more specialized beat such as an investigative or courts reporter. But I’m only one month in, so I’m keeping all options open!
What’s the NEW wackiest story you’ve ever worked on?
Nair: It would have to be the post-election lawsuits on behalf of the Trump campaign — at both the state and federal level so many cases are directly related to Pennsylvania elections.
How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?
Nair: This is something I’m still working on, especially when relocating to an entirely new city — for example, I’ll admit my diet is definitely far from where I want it to be right now. But as I continue to adapt and learn I’m confident that I can improve on that and other areas of my physical and mental health.
As for motivation, at the end of each week I like to have a little book where I put down something new I learned at work and something I can improve on in the short-term, and having those little notes for myself gives me something to work towards that’s pretty achievable.