Recent journalism school graduate Steven Chmielash asks: What does it take to get a job with The Globe? Jim Sheppard, the Executive Editor of globeandmail.com, who often oversees the hiring of our summer editorial staff and academic-year internships, offers insight into the process and challenges of the industry:
Every hiring editor in The Globe newsroom is looking for a different mix of experience, news judgment, writing ability, personal determination and other qualities. In senior reporting or editing positions, there’s a heavy emphasis on past performance as well as future potential. I can’t answer on behalf of all of them, because each job and each editor is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But you say you’re a recent journalism graduate, so I’ll try to tackle your question from the perspective of what we seek in a journalist trying to obtain an entry-level position.
First of all, in case anyone still doubts it, let me stress how very difficult it is to get a permanent-staff job at the entry level in almost any major Canadian media outlet. Staff levels are being reduced almost everywhere. New jobs are rarely being added – except in some highly specialized areas, most often in the digital sphere.
Add to that the fact that competition for these positions has become increasingly fierce in recent years. We have more than 800 applicants for 18 positions on our summer 2015 vacation-relief program. A committee of eight senior Globe staffers puts in many, many hours trying to determine whom to hire because these are fully-paid union-wage jobs to replace our vacationing staff during the summer months. We interview annually more than 100 journalists – young and old, experienced or recent graduates, from all parts of Canada and many other countries – before we make our final 18 choices.
So, back to your question.
With that level of competition in mind, we are looking primarily for three things regardless of whether we are hiring for a full-time, part-time, contract, summer or intern position. We want journalists, graduates or students who:
- demonstrate a passion for their craft
- express themselves intelligently and concisely across multiple platforms
- are self-starting, problem-solving, idea-generating reporters, editors, designers, photographers, videographers etc.
It can be rewarding in the long term to pass these initial high hurdles. About one-half of the digital staff now working at The Globe have come to us through the academic-year internship program or the summer vacation-relief program, or both.