Letters Home: Abbie Schmid

Abbie Schmid is a social media specialist
for the Cox Media Group. She graduated from
the Missouri School of Journalism in 2011.
The following letter was submitted March 9, 2012

Dear ONA Mizzou -

I work best with bullet points, so here are my three pieces of wisdom for you.

1.) Utilize the faculty at the journalism school - they are there for you, and you’re lucky to have them. They’ve been on the other side - and have the insight to prove it. Sometimes it’s easy to see them as the people with the red pen who possess a supernatural ability to spot jump cuts and AP style snafus. But they really have your best interests at heart - and if you want to be a journalist, a nurse or an accountant, there’s nothing more valuable than having someone truly examine your work and point out your strengths and weaknesses. Not only do they direct you to producing your best work, they can assist you in landing your first gig out of school. The lead to my current position came from a tweet from my capstone advisor about a “cool internship in Atlanta.” That cool internship turned into an awesome job.

2.) Nurture your interests outside of journalism, whether it’s creative writing, rock climbing or physics. You can get burnt out of journalism very quickly, especially at Mizzou. If you make it to your senior year, there will be several people along the way who drop the major. I noticed a lot of burnouts were individuals who came on hard and fast, spending hours in the newsroom, burning miles trying to craft the perfect story. There’s nothing wrong with someone deciding journalism isn’t for them, but in the real world, striking a balance between your professional passions and your regular interests is a useful skill. Not only does it afford you some breathing room, it can inform and color your work in ways you don’t expect.

3.) Familiarize yourself with the technical side of our business - whether it’s HTML, analytics software or video editing. As much as I wanted to be the second coming of Martha Gellhorn in college, I know that in today’s world, it’s vital to pair core skills with some technical prowess. And believe it or not, it can be fun to learn how to code and to understand what a white balance is. It doesn’t mean you have to become an expert at click-through rates, but in today’s rapidly evolving world, there are no hard and fast boundaries between the gonzo journalist and the gadget geek.

Have fun too - it goes by fast,

Abbie Schmid
BJ '11 Convergence
Social media specialist at Cox Media Group in Atlanta

Check out the rest of the Letters Home series

Editor's note: If you're a Mizzou journalism alum who would like to contribute to the Letters Home series, send us an email at onamizzou@gmail.com with your letter, your name, your sequence and graduation year, your current job and contact information.

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