Story by Molly Longman
Speakers Rachel DeSchepper and Tanner Stransky packed the Cowles Library Reading Room at Drake University so full with people Wednesday night that extra chairs had to be brought in.
The two revealed “The 8 Truths of Journalism Today” and gave the audience an insider’s view on how to survive in a world where the media is constantly changing.
Both DeSchepper and Stransky are Drake alumni.
DeSchepper is currently the director of digital content at allyou.com, and Stransky works as the senior editor at HBO Digital & Social Media.
The two journalists got the ball rolling with the first truth: “Magazines are now brands.”
The second truth was “The purpose of magazines’ websites needs to evolve.”
DeSchepper elaborated on this, saying that magazine websites are getting out-played by businesses.
“Publications not tied to print products can be more nimble, successful,” Deschepper said.
Both speakers, truth no. 3, “We are closer to our audience than we’ve ever been (for better or worse),” was both a good and bad thing.
There is a constant barrage, “Our job as a writer becomes harder and better because of this,” Stransky said.
“Web content is determined by metrics and link bait (for now)” was the fourth truth.
Both speakers said these tactics are not necessarily quality content, but are trending in the media for the time being.
They then went on to the fifth truth, “Native advertising is chipping away at pure, traditional advertising.”
DeSchepper and Stransky discussed BuzzFeed and its role in advertising.
“Banners don’t work anymore,” DeSchepper said.
The sixth truth, “Successful editors don’t edit” emphasized that most editors today deal with the business side of things, leaving the actual editing at the bottom of their priority lists.
Truth no. 7 perked up the ears of all of the Drake professors in the audience. “You still have to know the rules of journalism.”
Stransky said that the rules of journalism he learned in his time in the Drake J-School, “formed the bedrock of everything I do.”
The final truth the speakers had for the audience was, “There will be no comfortable ‘stable’ period ever again.”
DeSchepper explained that journalism is always changing, and you’ll learn new things every day of your life.
Your boss “won’t send you to Puerto Rico for team building” in this career,” Stransky said. There is constant work to be done.
At the end of the program, the speakers took questions from the audience.
Stransky emphasized that students should take advantage of internships. He said when people come to him with resumes without any experience in the field, he responds, “Did you do anything while you were in college, besides going to Peggy’s?”
Early on in the program, Stransky said, “Truths aren’t right or wrong things. Truths are just truths.”
SJMC director and Associate Professor Kathleen Richardson said the truth that really stood out to her was the seventh.
“I’m happy that, even though the environment they are working in is so different than the one they started in here, they emphasized that the basic journalism skills are so important,” Richardson said.