Class of 2020: Where are they now? Michael Tobin

The next generation of journalists graduated in 2020 into a challenging job market unlike any other. We spotlighted them last summer, shared advice from their role models, and are checking in with them  to see where they are now and what they’re learning about journalism. 

Name: Michael Tobin

School: University of Oregon

Current Job: Bloomberg News

New wackiest story: The national coin shortage

Where are you working right now?

Tobin: I’m working full time at Bloomberg News after interning (remotely) over the summer. 

My first rotation at Bloomberg was on the foreign exchange/rates desk. I was completely new to the trade, and it was a steep learning curve. By the end of my first rotation, I produced a few stories I was really proud of after some coaching and mentorship from my editors and I felt much more confident. 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?

Tobin: Eventually, the hard work that you put in will pay off. It can be really scary waiting to hear back on a job that can change your life, but you have to have faith in yourself and know that you’re good enough. It is scary to wait to hear back, but try and stay positive while you wait. 

What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?

Tobin: Well, getting a full time job and moving to New York relieved a lot of stress, so that was a huge moment for me. I did a few fun stories about the Kodak film company getting approved for a loan from the government to develop drugs (bizarre, I know), which got the attention of an editor I really like and respect at Bloomberg. His compliments meant a lot! 

What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?

Tobin: I wish I had been more persistent about contacting sources in college. I hated talking on the phone, but now it’s easy and a lot of fun. People also will talk more freely since they’re working from home, which is a good thing to keep in mind. 

Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?

Tobin: I think my goals have changed. I’m more open to pursuing different types of business journalism stories (as opposed to covering one beat or company) and now I want to cover a sector or market like corporate bonds and debt. 

What’s the NEW wackiest story you’ve ever worked on?

Tobin: I did a fun story over the summer for Bloomberg Businessweek about the national coin shortage. I hadn’t seen a good story written about the coin shortage, so I set out to write one and interview the people who were most affected: coin laundromat owners. I found a laundromat owner who drove to six banks a day just to try and stock the coins for his machines. It was a completely bizarre problem, and one that is paradoxical in a way. There’s no coin shortage, the supply of coins remained the same, but there was a problem with coins not moving. It wasn’t a traditional shortage, which I found fascinating.

How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?

Tobin: That one is tough. I was running for a while, but now it is quite rainy and gets dark early. I like to play board games or do puzzles with my roommate. I’ve gotten into making art as well, which is mentally relaxing to do something that doesn’t involve writing. I also started making caramel corn as a hobby.

Read Tobin’s original profile here.

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