The only woman be a keynote speaker at ACP this year was Michelle Quinn, the tech writer for Politico.
Though she currently lives in Oakland, she has certainly been around in her 20 year journalism career.
“It’s totally OK to flit around,” she said.
Quinn has worked at the SF Chronicle and the New York Times, among others. During her time in journalism school at UC Berkeley, she also wrote for the student newspaper The Daily Californian and Wired Magazine.
Facing discouraging comments and people who don’t believe in you or your writing is something every journalist faces. Quinn said she was no different.
When telling a story about a particularly difficult professor at UC Berkeley, Quinn said she ran to The Daily Cal to avoid another paper covered in red, telling her “Miss Quinn, you fucked up again.”
Challenges for journalists persist far past the early stages of a career, though. Especially during the drastic shifts in platform – print-to-online being the most recent.
“The whole model is churning and upended,” Quinn said about our current climate for finding journalism jobs.
Quinn’s advice: be a student of media, even after you’re not a college student anymore. Knowing how newspapers get money will save us from becoming victims of an evolving profession.
“Obviously journalism has not figured out a workable business model,” she said, but we can begin to be a part of the solution.
As far as tech writing is concerned, Quinn said she doesn’t even really enjoy technology, but that she has found a way to connect it to things she enjoys writing about.
“Don’t poo-poo ANY work,” she said. Any job can become a job you love, and every job is a gateway to something else that you may enjoy more.
As I’m preparing to graduate, this advice is invaluable for me. Any job is a good job. And switching jobs throughout my career is OK.
Read all of our staff blog posts on the ACP 2013 page on this website. You can also find the link on the header at the upper right hand corner.