(Editor’s Note: For the past several days, students participating in the immersion course, #EntreTechNYC, have been composing blog posts reflecting their experiences. Anna Leach is today’s blogger. She’s a dual major in the S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications | School of Information Studies. She’s studying Newspaper/Online Journalism and Information Management & Technology. She’s web editor for the Syracuse University radio station,WAER.
Here are her reflections on a week of visits to startups, talking to founders and tech people in the entrepreneurship culture of NYC. You can follow the group of students via Twitter by hashtag #EntreTechNYC.)
Or, sometimes it’s a quizzical look, or an awkward silence.
These are all typically followed by a smirk, a chuckle, and a quick reassurance it was a joke - even if they do believe newspapers (or even journalism in general), are “dead,” or at the very least, “dying out.”
I get the joke, I really do.
A Changing World
The journalism world is changing, business is up in the air, etc. etc. etc. It’s even a common enough joke among journalists to the point of the favorite shirt at student journalism conventions proudly declaring ,“Journalists Will work for peanuts.”
But, to be honest, I’ve not always been sure how to react to that specific response to the editorial part of my newspaper/information management and technology dual major. It’s a little intimidating, immediately going into industry-related banter with (very successful) people who fit into that “older and wiser” advisor category.
Over the past three days, at EntreTechNYC, we’ve met with dozens of amazingly talented working professionals. Today (Wednesday) alone, we were fortunate enough to talk with a total of 28 different people from four different companies.
By nature of the trip everyone we’ve met is working in tech or entrepreneurial business in some capacity. We’ve heard from developers, engineers, project and product managers, operations directors, sales team members, CEOs, company founders, and more.
Talking with a Techie/Guru
So then, how does a journalism nerd talk career and strategy with a techie or a business and/or entrepreneurial guru?
What I’ve found? You just talk.
Or, more specifically, you dialogue — ask questions, listen, have a conversation. Tonight, we got a change to have a sit-down dinner and have more in-depth conversations with some very prolific SU alums and enthusiasts–about their work and the startup landscape– but also just about life.
And, just like we’ve visited a hugely diverse body of companies over the past three days, each of the guests tonight comes from different backgrounds, have different pieces to bring to the table.
Engaging With Us
But how they engaged with us was the same, time and time again. They inquired about our personal and academic lives, wondered about our reflections on the week, expressed genuine interest in actually keeping in touch. It didn’t matter that everyone didn’t have the same educational background or specific technical knowledge. In fact, the variety pushed conver-sations into new, unique directions in each group.
That same energy, that spirit, has resonated through all of the connections we’ve made throughout these three days, speci-fically those with the SU alumni. People simply (but so remarkably), cared.
That sort of investment has facilitated an environment where we have been able to not only see each of our visits in a more analytical way, but also form personal relationships.
My Next Response
So, whenever I next am questioned about my potential life as a professional in an as-good-as-dead field, I’ll laugh and smile a little easier. Because I am so lucky to be in the company of those who are interested enough, and knowledgeable enough, to make that slight, and then push me to support my ideas.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll even come up with a witty retort to send back.
Have you ever had a student experience that changed your perspective about careers? Let us know of it in the comments section below!