No matter what work they have pursued, journalism students recall the excitement and networking of their student journalist days, even years after finishing school.
Entrepreneur Galuh Agustia Sitompul studied journalism at Padjadjaran University (Unpad) in West Java. She found what she has been doing shared some common elements with what working journalists must do.
She explained it this way: Journalists usually gather information and wrapped it in a certain style before publishing it in the newspaper.
And that was more or less what her current job calls for.
“In my case, I gather clothes, shoes and other things and try to make them more interesting before posting it all on my online shop,” she said.
“Only the medium is different.”
Galuh also realized what she learned as a journalist was useful in many fields.
“Let’s take networking as an example. We actually learned in classes about how to talk to people from all walks of life. I use that skill every day to network well, which is important for my successful business,” she said.
Networking helped her promote her merchandise and kept her virtual shop moving.
Another journalism school alum, Herda Everdyn from Jakarta’s Institute of Social and Political Sciences (IISIP), said she still tapped into her journalism skills even though her current job had nothing to do with gathering and disseminating news.
Herda heads the administrative division at Singa School in North Jakarta.
“The curiosity that becomes a must-have thing for any journalist has stayed with me. It helps me work on something thoroughly and when I need information from someone, I use my newshound perseverance,” she said.
Writing skills also have carried over for Herda. As a Sunday school teacher, she said, the technique for writing feature stories was what she remembered most from her college experience.
At her Sunday school, she is usually contributing a feature piece or two to the school’s monthly newspaper.
“For example, I write about faith, and then relate it to the lives of the children or teachers,” she said.
Despite Galuh’s and Herda’s passion for writing, which was the prime motivator for them to attend journalism school, they both said the 24/7 pace of the work made them choose another field.
Galuh previously worked part-time as a freelancer at the Bandung newspaper, Pikiran Rakyat. Herda worked at Suara Pembaruan.
Journalism is about putting many skills together, and working journalists can come to the job from many different educational and working backgrounds, said Herlina Agustin, head of the journalism program at Unpad.
“Anyone can be a journalist, just like anyone can be a manager. It is a different career path from a doctor or a lawyer who needs to go through certain tracks to be in the profession,” she said.
Though a more open discipline, she said, students in journalistic school were expected to meet journalism standards, both theoretically and practically.
She said that at journalism schools, about 80 percent of the classwork involved learning through hands-on experience.
And last but not least, an aspiring journalist must maintain ethical and journalistic principles once they jump into this field, Herlina said.
ys/Novia D. Rulistia