View Full Version : D.C. Dopers: I'm changing careers and could use some advice
11-04-2004, 04:56 PM
Some of you who have read my posts may know that I'm in the journalism biz right now. However, the events of the past few days have made me unable to sit on the sidelines and hide my political passions any longer. So, I've decided to get out of the journalism business and find some work that will get me involved in the process, on the Democratic/progressive side of the spectrum.
My problem is that I have no clue how to do this. All my "connections" are in journalism. The job I've had since college fell into my lap; I didn't have to look for it. While I want to have a job that gets me involved in the process, I'm not very enthusiastic about the idea of working on the Hill, aside from a few, select members of the Senate. The idea of writing press releases touting some HUD grant for the district of a backbencher Democrat in the House sounds mind-numbing.
I also, really, don't know what other jobs I'd actually enjoy or what else I'm actually good at. All I've done in my adult life is be a reporter.
So, if anyone has any suggestions or even connections that could be of use, please let me know.
11-04-2004, 05:57 PM
Given your background, I'd try for a media relations gig.
11-04-2004, 06:01 PM
There are dozens of solid progressive think tanks and organizations.
Drop me a line. I have a pal (old college roomie and current dear friend) who's well placed at People for the American Way. They do good work and might be able to use someone with a journalism background.
11-04-2004, 06:06 PM
SNenc, I found a website for you: Democratic Hill Jobs (http://www.hillzoo.com/democratjobs.htm).Press Secretary: California Democrat seeking proactive Press Secretary to manage day to day press outreach for busy Capitol Hill office. Responsibilities include writing press releases and aggressively pitching local and national media. Candidates must have significant Hill or political experience, a creative approach to pitching press ideas, a team-player attitude, and top-notch writing skills. ***Willing to wait until after Election Day for the right candidate.***
Congresswoman Barbara Lee is seeking a Communications Director. Candidate must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, work well under pressure, and be able to initiate press coverage. Responsibilities include writing speeches, press releases, op-eds, e-newsletters and updates; developing, planning, and overseeing media events; and planning and overseeing Member's local TV show. Very busy, but fun office. Knowledge of Bay Area media market is preferred. Previous press experience is required. Salary commensurate with experience.
11-04-2004, 06:07 PM
Oh, sorry, didn't notice you weren't particularly interested in the Hill.
11-04-2004, 09:50 PM
Jonathan, aside from Brookings, what are some of the other think tanks you had in mind? Also, I sent you a message about People for the American Way, if you haven't checked for it yet.
11-05-2004, 01:53 PM
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Hill. People on the Hill have much more influence on national events than people off the Hill. Say you work for a progressive think tank or another advocacy group. Say they give you a job writing for them. Who's going to read it? Maybe a few hundred people who look at their website or pick up their material.
Now, consider being press secretary on the Hill. You do write a lot of press releases extolling the virtues of HUD grants to your district/state and other mindless BS. However, you also talk a lot to the national press and help shape the story that's coming out. You may also write columns (monthly or weekly, dendinging on the press office's methods) that are often carried, verbatim, by weekly newspapers in the district/state (at least that's how it worked in the office I used to work at). That's a lot more people seeing your writing than would ever see it at a think tank.
Of course, if you do go to the Hill, you'll most likely want to work for a Senator (more influence than a House member) and you'll want to work for an office that matches your politics. And you'll also want to make sure that the office you work for has an agressive press strategy. Not all offices write weekly columns or things of that nature.
I am saying this because I used to work on the Hill and left. Now that I'm off the Hill, I realize how much more influence I had up there. If you're looking to influence people and change the system, you'll probably be frustrated no matter where you go. However, you will be less frustrated working for Congress.
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