Journalism! As Explained by Guest Speakers Rachel and Eric Coker

Journalism! As Explained by Guest Speakers Rachel and Eric Coker

Sriram Chakravadhanula, Journalist

“If you have journalism and another career as options, choose the other career,” advised Rachel Coker, stunning the class. Bottom line, journalism is hard. Rachel and Eric Coker explained just how hard it is to Vestal High School’s Bearfacts Club on November 28th, 2021. As successful journalists themselves, Rachel and Eric Coker began by explaining their own journalism career from high school and how the industry itself is changing.

Journalism is all about experience and adapting stories to cover the ever changing world. Rachel Coker says, “The journalism industry is changing. If you want to get involved in journalism, now is the best time.” The rapidly developing industry is moving from print to online. A whole new skill set is necessary. Rachel Coker had to adapt by learning photo and video editing in addition to her writing and interviewing skills. Trying to make online newspapers colorful, convenient, and better than print is the new goal of the journalism industry. “One of you could be the one that drastically changes the industry.”

Of course, journalism is a long and demanding career with little reward for a long time. Starting with becoming editors in their high school, the Cokers both went to college continuing their dream. Mr. Coker went to SUNY Brockport, becoming the editor-in-chief. He now is the Alumni magazine editor at Binghamton University. Rachel Coker decided to study abroad and did some journalism in France, and had high hopes of trying to cover stories internationally as well. However, Rachel is now involved with research communications on campus and is in a contented position of teaching journalism in BU as an adjunct with Mr. Coker in the spring semester.

Going into journalism is a long and difficult path, but the opportunities are endless. As the Cokers explained, there are no specific exams, and you can set and dream and follow it. Deciding where you want to go to college is the beginning. Location is far more important than any other criteria. Choosing a university in an area in which you will be hoping to be a journalist is very crucial. And while in that area, networking and taking all the opportunities offered will allow you to climb the ladder of success.

Most importantly, journalism is a dream that can be accomplished with no boundaries and endless opportunities, but you must strive for it. Starting with writing in the school newspaper, and sticking with your passion throughout your higher education, you can become anything from a news reporter to a feature writer, or even a professor in journalism.