Robert Krulwich, host of the must-listen Radiolab and a NPR Science Correspondant, recently gave a commencement address to Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. It’s pretty great. Krulwich talks about how he has seen journalism change and issues a call for a new generation to “not wait” for their dream jobs and stories to come, but to go out and find them ourselves. For those of us who are trying to make a career this way, the advice and enthusiastic support is warmly welcome.
Discover Magazine has a transcript of his address, and it is well worth reading through for some important perspective and a heap of optimism and support. You can also listen to a recording of the speech posted by the school.
So for this age, for your time, I want you to just think about this: Think about NOT waiting your turn.
Instead, think about getting together with friends that you admire, or envy. Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.
And maybe, for your generation, the Trojan Horse is what you’ve got, your talent, backed by a legion of friends. Not friends in high places. This is the era of Friends in Low Places. The ones you meet now, who will notice you, challenge you, work with you, and watch your back. Maybe they will be your strength.
If you choose to go this way, you won’t have Charles Kuralt’s instant success. It will take time. It will probably be very lonely. A living room is not a news room. It doesn’t feel like one. You know you’re alone. And on the way, you might get scarily close to not being able to afford a living room.
But what I’ve noticed is that people who fall in love with journalism, who stay at it, who stay stubborn, very often win. I don’t know why, but I’ve seen it happen over and over.