TO: Potential Journalism Students

Richard Ecke, Great Falls Tribune (retired)

  • Don’t go into journalism for the pay; the compensation alone probably doesn’t overcome the aggravation journalists face every day.
  • Don’t go into journalism for the hours; you might work nights and weekends, even spend an uncomfortable night or two out on the range or in the mountains covering a story.
  • Don’t go into journalism because the public will always appreciate what you are doing. They might appreciate a good story, but many will question your motives whatever you write.
  • Do go into journalism because you love it. You love placing words on a page or a computer screen. You love the English language and even grammar, which many others ignore. Use English artfully; listen to how it sounds. Appreciate words and choose them with care.
  • Go into journalism because it’s exciting. A journalist can challenge authority, bring down a political figure by reporting a scandal, or right a wrong that otherwise would not have been corrected.
  • Enter journalism because you want to work with other dedicated people, who work hard and pay attention and watch for clues and investigate and report on historic events and interview interesting, courageous, detestable, mysterious and outspoken people (not all at one time).

It’s a great field that is constantly changing. Be ready for a wild ride, but it’s a worthy profession.