Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mass Communications Week hosts New York magazine contributing editor Robert Kolker

Photo by Christopher Bonanos
By Rachel Vargas

Monday, author and contributing editor for New York magazine, Robert Kolker, reminded students that the career path chosen in college doesn't have to be the last. 

Kolker visited Texas State University this week for the Mass Communications Week where he was able to extend his knowledge and experience in journalism with a number of students.

After graduating from Columbia University, Kolker faced a number of decisions, as most graduates do, when he entered the job market.

"From 1991 to 1998 I bounced around to a lot of different jobs," Kolker said. 

With a degree in history and an appetite for film, Kolker sought a specific field of journalism.

"I thought I would be an arts journalist of some sort or maybe a film scholar,” Kolker said. “I did not want to be an investigative reporter…I think I was intimidated by the idea that I'd be one member of a pack."

Fearful as this instability in jobs may seem, Kolker was able to gain experience working for non-profit groups, a movie company and even planning events for political fundraisers.

It wasn't until two years after graduation that Kolker realized that he "just wanted to be in print" and began his quest for publication through freelancing in the pre-internet era.

In 1998, the Maryland native landed a position at New York Magazine, whom he has been writing for since, and is now the go-to reporter for investigative and feature articles.

Kolker is a prime example of having a mind willing to diverge on a path not originally intended, and what benefits may come.

"A lot of the career building happens after school, when you are sort of jumping around and trying to put yourself in a professional situation even if you aren't being compensated for it," said Kolker.

Journalism major TheresaChristine Etim felt reassured after hearing what Kolker had to say.

"I feel pressure to zero in on a specific area," Etim said. "But that's just not me. I've never been interested in sticking to one profession."

Some students, such as Homer Gonzalez, believe they will follow in steps similar to Kolker's in order to find their true niche.

“For security reasons, I would like to think I would (stick to one job,) but in real life I feel like I might just do a bunch of things and find the one that I really love,” said the electronics media major.

Based off of his experience, Kolker assured students that what they choose to do now, is likely one of many jobs they will come across in the future.

"None of us live in an age where you can sort of sit at your job and say well I guess I'll be doing this for the rest of (my) life."

Currently, Kolker is fulfilling another dream with the recent publication of his non-fiction book "The Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery."

In this bone chilling account of five unsolved murders, Kolker explores themes of prostitution in a digital age, ignorance on the part of authority and the loss of women that were forgotten amidst a dark reality. 

Kolker "has carried out monumental research to give us true-crime reporting at its best," according to The Washington Post.

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