Letters Home: Christina Hartman

Christina Hartman is the managing editor at Newsy. She graduated from
the Missouri School of Journalism in 2009 with a master's in broadcast
The following letter was submitted June 15, 2012

Dear ONA Mizzou,

To state the obvious, journalism is a competitive industry. We're surrounded by many who are just as talented — just as hard working, just as smart, just as resourceful — as we hope we are. Joining the working world for the first time, the reality of that can be tough.

But what I would have told my student and fresh-out-of-school self is rather than thinking of competitors as agitators of self-doubt, they are opportunities for growth.

In 2009, I moved to Washington, D.C., to work for a competitive cable news network filled with young, smart, well-educated people. It was at once intimidating and sometimes even disheartening. I would watch someone with a great idea and think, "Why couldn’t I come up with that?"

But I’ve seen one particularly destructive habit of some highly competitive people: purposely hiding information from others in the hopes of using it as leverage for their own upward mobility and growth.

That kind of behavior is easy to get sucked into. But focusing on what someone did or could do better can only do one of two things: It can make you feel threatened, or it can inspire you.

There’s so much more to be gained by uplifting, encouraging and learning from the very people, your peers, who could get the promotion or the big story over you.

This is not to say being competitive is a bad thing. It drives us to work harder and be better. But there's a big difference between competition that isolates and that which enriches everyone around you.

I'm back in Columbia now, managing a collaborative and innovative newsroom filled with bright young people. And to be clear, people in this industry can be just as competitive in mid-Missouri as they are in Washington, D.C. But figuring out how to channel the inner collaborator in you pays huge dividends — you grow, your peers grow, and the organization you're all a part of is better.

Christina Hartman
MA '09 Broadcast
Managing editor at Newsy

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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