Investigative Journalism

Somehow a keyword search for "investigative journalism" in San Jose led a woman to my blog.

Go figure.
In any case, she wrote to me for advice. She spent 15 years teaching elementary school at the same place she attended kindergarten. She loves it but said she has a "passion for social justice" and a "need for truth-seeking."

She has a Master's degree in education and loves to "write, speak, debate."

She wanted my take on how to transition her career and change directions.

I would love to give her advice, but my journey was straight out of college, developing general journalism and TV reporting skills on the job over the past 13 years. I admire her for being a single mother of a 7 year old looking to make a major career change and having the wherewithal to at least reach out for some guidance. I feel woefully under-equipped to give good advice. Plus I feel responsible for giving bad advice.
So I reached out to an investigative producer who never feels bad about anything.
 
He wrote: 

"My advice would be for her to try and do some writing/community journalism for sites like patch.com and some of the independent papers who rely on local contributions. That way she could keep her day job and build some journalism experience so that when she's ready to take the FULL leap she'll be armed with some experience and skills vs none and paying for an expensive and generally useless degree. 

Some other tips:
1) Join our local bay area journalism clubs/societies. I don't know if she's ethnic but Bay Area black journalists Association has monthly meetings, in LA there was the LA press club and I remember seeing there's some kind of NorCal equivalent. I don't know who any of the other groups are, but basically it would be a good idea for her to join so that she can surround herself with working journalists.

2) Take a junior college class or a "college of extended learning" course on journalism at a local college. She'll learn the basic skills, meet fellow aspiring journalists and she'll have a professor who could serve as mentor.

3) Internships are great for getting your foot in the door. If she goes the JC route, that could potentially allow her to intern at a newspaper or tv station and learn from the pros."

Moral of this blog post: I work with smart people.