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How do you best network as a journalist? Advice from the board

Networking, important in any profession, is even more so for journalists. Having good contacts can be vital for landing a competitive job, or for finding the right sources for a story. What are some of the best ways to stay connected in a field that so heavily relies on contacts? The professionals on the SPJ board were kind enough to offer their nuggets of wisdom.

“Follow the conversation about journalism in your own community. Join organizations that bring journalists together and make time to get to know journalists who work beyond where you do, and write about other things for other publications. Sharing war stories and best practices is a must at a time when the industry is so quickly changing.”
– Monica Guzman, columnist at Seattle Times and GeekWire

“The best thing you can do from a connections/networking standpoint is to be helpful. Do whatever favors you can for the people you know, or for the people you want to know. For one thing, it feels good and journalists need to stick together now more than ever. For another, you’re going to need to ask a favor of your own at some point, and it’ll help to have ingratiated yourself to the people you’re asking.”
– Paul Balcerak, social media strategist, formerly with KIRO

Oren Campbell, retired journalist, urged journalists to “join professional organizations (and take an active role): SPJ, IRE, NPAA.”

“I stay connected with other journalists by being a member of SPJ and by following them on Twitter/Facebook/Google+. I stay on my sources radars by contacting them via e-mail, social media sites and meeting them face-to-face. Since I’m friends with my co-workers, I have no problem asking one of them if I need a certain kind of contact.”
– Breanne Coats, SPJ president and writer for the Business Examiner

“If you want to make connections, just like with other aspects of your career, you have to work at it. Go to events. Volunteer. Put yourself out there. Use social media to help grow relationships, but don’t forget the value of face to face interactions.”
– Ethan Chung, deputy editor at Premier Media Group

Ola Wietecha is a University of Washington student and an intern with SPJ’s Western Washington chapter. Email her at

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