Thursday, October 24, 2013

Published author to speak about journalism journey

by Sarah Sutton
Writing for Mass Media student

SAN MARCOS- Robert Kolker, accredited journalist and published author of “Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery,” enlightened students about his evolving journey with his career in journalism.

Kolker spoke Monday to Texas State students during Mass Comm Week, a series of events and guest speakers hosted by the School of Mass Communication and Journalism to give students advice and insight about his experiences.

From working as a secretary for a non-profit group, to an assistant at a movie company, and then to helping with a political fundraiser and event planning, Kolker gained experience that eventually led him to his passion: writing for publication.

“It didn’t matter to me what it was… I just wanted to be in print,” Kolker said.  “So I dropped everything and started freelancing where I could.”

Within a few months of freelancing for various companies, Kolker found himself writing stories for a local newspaper on the west side of Manhattan.

“(This) was very much a journalism kind of school experience for me,” said Kolker. “It was a great learning opportunity.”

He described his freelancing efforts as a “learn as you go” experience that helped shape his abilities.

“Most career building happens after school… Whether it is paid or unpaid, it is all about what you learn, everything helps,” Kolker said.

Kolker said his newspaper experience demonstrated that he was capable of reaching deadlines and accurately portraying facts to his audience.

“If you have newspaper experience, what you’re demonstrating to any editor is that you know how to turn something around and make it happen,” Kolker said.  “And you know how to do it accurately.”

Once Kolker gained newspaper credentials and expertise in the field, he was hired in 1998 at New York magazine where he eventually became the contributing editor.

Sophomore journalism major Sophia Campos found Kolker’s presentation interesting and described it as “very motivating.”

“He was very informative of all of the twists and turns a career in journalism can take… he was very open-minded and flexible,” Campos said.
Jesse Witt, advertising major, described the speaker as reassuring in regards to his own aspirations.

“Kolker gave us all advice that will benefit us now and later,” Witt said.  “As Kolker said, it’s all about the experience. I have a lot to learn and his advice will keep me motivated.”

For more information on Kolker, visit his twitter handle @bobkolker

Photo by Janet Vasquez

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