Last Thursday in my multimedia journalism class Eric Athas from NPR came and talked to us about his career and experiences in journalism.

Athas graduated from UMass Amherst in 2008, but has been working in the journalism field long before then. In his senior year he decided he was done with working at The Collegian, UMass’s school paper, and helped launch the website Amherst Wire. Along with this endeavor he interned at MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, MA, Channel 5 News, and created the UMass 101 blog on Masslive. After college he landed at the Washington Post’s news site have a “catch-all” sort of job with many different duties.m Now he’s at NPR – one of the biggest news organizations in the country. His advice for getting jobs? “Never turn down a conversation.”

Along with talking about his career he also doled out some important tips for succeeding the journalism world. One of these tips is to “always have your journalist hat on.” He coupled his advice with a story about a murder that was discovered in a clothing store while he was outside waiting for an IPad at a nearby Apple store. He immediately went to the scene and started to gather whatever information he could about it in order to report it to the public. He even took pictures and video interviews with bystanders on the spot with his IPhone.

He also advised us to always be looking for news – it may turn up in the most unlikely of spots. He recommend that if you see something interesting to blog about it and get it out there through social networks. Expanding  your news scope is never a bad thing.

Athas also talked about his views on journalism today. Right out the gate he asserted “journalism isn’t dead.” He expressed his bright outlook for journalism in the new age while commenting about the changing nature of the profession. The “traditional” journalism  of working at small newspapers as beat reporters and working your way up is not a relevant course of action today. Working freelance and for websites has become more of the norm in the business in order to adapt to changing times.

He repeated one extremely solid piece of advice through the lecture and that was to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! And I’ve got to say, he’s had a pretty full career already – so if networking worked for him I’ve got to get on that!

It was great being able to pick the mind of someone who’s out there and working and knows how hard it can be to get a job – and also someone who graduated from UMass. Hopefully i can take his tips and use them to get some internships and job once I get outta here!