Wednesday, October 23, 2013



Writing for Mass Media Student

Contributing editor and writer at New York magazine, Robert Kolker, visited Writing for Mass Media on Monday to share his journalistic career path and his secrets to becoming a successful journalist expert.

Kolker attended Columbia University and graduated in 1991 with a History degree. He was never attracted to the idea of writing hard news. “I think I was intimidated by the idea of that I’d be one member of a pack,” Kolker said. 

He didn't find the traditional journalist lifestyle appealing. He never wanted to be following a politician around with the rest of the reporters, “trying to get the one quote and then running to try to get the story out that day,” Kolker said.

Kolker didn’t start at high-end companies or established places, but all the learning experiences he got freelancing were the things that built him up to be successful now.

“The prestige of the place and the name of the place is not as important as the work you are doing,” Kolker said.

Although Kolker wanted to be part of these prestigious companies, he realized that the process is far more important than the goal. Kolker encouraged the students to work hard and if it is possible to find a new launching opportunity.

“The exciting part about being in a launch… was being part of something brand new,” Kolker said, “where absolutely everything needs to be done from the ground up.” This will substantially build great work muscles, great stamina and great work habits.

Jessica Ngbor, a Texas State student seeking a Mass Communication degree, said that the advice she took out of Kolker’s career path is that the next couple of years will give her all the tools that she needs to succeed. “I won’t get discouraged, but I will take everything as a learning experience,” said Ngbor.

Kolker never stops looking for ways to move forward with his career. That’s where the idea of his first book Lost Girls, An American Unsolved Mystery, came about. The book’s origins come from a magazine story he had published in the spring of 2011, covering an unsolved murder case of 5 female victims in Long Island, N.Y.

He certainly feels accomplished, and from a career stand point "it's an exciting moment... because I can start thinking on a couple of different plains about what my next steps might be professionally," Kolker said.

 Brittany Lessoon, a Texas State junior, thought Robert Kolker’s advice was great, realistic and credible. 

“He was once in our shoes,” Lessoon said. She looks forward to graduating from Texas State and the life experiences to come afterward.  

Robert Kolker gives hope to the journalism society and those who want to be part of it by addressing the fact that it doesn't take a lot to get credentialed. “If you can do the work and you can demonstrate you can do it, then people will give you more work’” said Kolker, “Not everyone needs a journalism school graduate degree to get somewhere in their career.”

Visit Texas State’s Mass Comm Week event schedule to learn more about the events being held.

                                                                                             Photo by Danielle Harkness

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