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: Rob Kleifield
School: Arizona State University
Where are you working right now?
Kleifield: I am currently on the job hunt, looking for a paid internship opportunity or full-time position in the sports media industry. I graduated with a masters degree in sports journalism from Arizona State University on December 14, 2020. My work is featured in Cronkite News, The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Daily Star.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?
Kleifield: The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my job search so far is to be patient and to be persistent. I have sent out many applications but have only heard back from several organizations. I believe the right opportunity must be out there, somewhere.
What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?
Kleifield: I’m looking forward to launching into my professional career after graduation. I have lived in Arizona my entire life, so I’m hopeful for an opportunity to venture someplace new, where I can create relationships, develop a following and leave a lasting impact on the community by reporting meaningful stories.
What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?
Kleifield: I think it is important for all journalism students to realize there’s no legitimate way to improve at your craft by sitting in a classroom. It’s vital to gain real-world experiences like interviewing subjects, filing stories on deadline out in the field and traveling to cover what’s important to the community in person, rather than behind a keyboard or computer or TV screen.
Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?
Kleifield: I think my journalism goals have evolved throughout my three-semester masters degree program at ASU. I’m more determined than ever to cover college or professional football full time. I want to tell impactful stories, meet interesting people and excel as an interviewer and storyteller.
What’s the NEW wackiest story you’ve ever worked on?
Kleifield: It’s not THAT wacky, but a favorite story of mine I recently reported is about three high school friends who happened to celebrate their favorite team’s miraculous “Hail Murray” in separate states, thousands of miles apart. You can check it out here.
How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?
Kleifield: I’m taking care of myself right now by trying to stay active. I’m holding myself accountable to work out each day in order to boost my endorphins, in addition to eating a healthier diet. I don’t want to risk getting sick, in part, because I’m so motivated to produce content and share stories I’ve been waiting to tell. These are hard times for everyone, but I do my best to stay positive each day, and find a silver lining in what’s been an otherwise unusual year — because I still want to accomplish my goals and attack my future.