Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mass Communication Week welcomes New York magazine writer


By Nick Stout
Writing for Mass Media student


Robert Kolker, contributing editor of New York magazine, inspired Texas State students with insights on the development of his career at a Mass Communication Week event on Monday.

Kolker went to Columbia University, where he could not major in journalism despite his interest in the field.  After almost two years of working odd jobs after college, he realized that what he really wanted to do was write for a publication, so he dropped everything and started freelancing.

“I think if that happened in 2013 I’d be writing for websites”, Kolker said. “As it stood back then I was applying for writing jobs or editorial jobs from newspaper ads and not getting those jobs and then becoming a freelancer”.

Some students agree that his career would have been different had he gotten started now.

“It probably would have been easier for him to find a job had the Internet been more prevalent”, said Felisha Bull, a public relations major.

Within a few months of freelancing, Kolker started writing for a local community weekly newspaper on the west side of Manhattan in New York City.

The writer felt it was a great learning opportunity to work for that newspaper, despite a lack of monetary compensation. 

“A lot of the career building happens after school where you are sort of jumping around and learning as you go and trying to put yourself in a professional position even if you aren’t necessarily being compensated for it,” Kolker said.

This seems to be as true today as it was then, with lots of students gathering their experience from internships after college.

“It wasn’t an option for me to be an intern at age 24 somewhere, but it certainly is now,” Kolker said.

Kolker once spoke with an editor of a magazine at an informational meeting, asking what course of action to take to get involved in magazine writing. Unexpectedly, the editor told him that writing for a newspaper was the best way to prepare.  

Advertising major Jesse Witt agrees with this assertion.

“Being able to prove that you’re able to compose something yourself in a timely fashion is essential in any print media,” Witt said.

The editor’s advice proved to be true for Kolker, who was later hired as a junior writer for New York magazine, where he has worked for the last 15 years.

Kolker would branch out from magazine writing, releasing his first book “Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery” last summer.

For those interested in attending Mass Communication Week events, the schedule is available at the Texas State Mass Communication Week website.

Sources:
Robert Kolker- bob@robertkolker.com
Jesse Witt- jcw113@txstate.edu
Felisha Bull- fb1031@txstate.edu

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