in Houston, Texas
Texas Watchdog's Jennifer Peebles speaks on 'The Entrepreneurial Journalist' at SPJ conference
Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011, 01:38PM CST
By Jennifer Peebles
Reporter's notebook

There used to be a career ladder in this crazy business of journalism: You started at a small paper or a small-market television station, then you went to a little bit bigger place, then a little bit bigger place, and you maybe specialized in whatever subject matter interested you, and eventually you might work in a Really Big City. 

But with the rise of the Internet and the massive upheaval in our industry in the past few years, there is no more career ladder. You've got to find your own path now.

That was kind of the overall theme when AmyJo Brown and I spoke on the topic of "The Entrepreneurial Journalist" at the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 12 spring conference, held in Nashville. 

AmyJo -- who was an award-winning investigative journalist before she became a digital strategist -- made the point about the career ladder going away. It's a dang good one, and I'm reusing it here, with credit to her. It was particularly a good point to make for our conference attendees, who were mostly college students or recent graduates. 

The regular progression of things in this business has gone out the window. You have to be prepared for a lot of things -- challenges, yes, but also opportunities, depending on how you look at them. I told the attendees it was important to cross-train in multimedia and that the traditional walls between platforms and competitors were breaking down. 

I really enjoyed meeting AmyJo and many of our conference attendees, and it was good to see many old friends from Nashville.

And for those of you closer to home, in Texas and Oklahoma, I hope to see you at the SPJ Region 8 conference in Norman, Okla., on April 9, where I'll be speaking on freedom of information with Joey Senat of Oklahoma State University. 

See you then!


Contact Jennifer Peebles at or 281-656-1681. Follow her on Twitter at @texaswatchdog or @jpeebles.

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Photo by flickr user alex-s, used under a Creative Commons license.

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