College grads are actually getting jobs, according to a New York Times report. CBS News and the National Journal have joined together to hire a team of six young people to cover the 2012 presidential election for them. These jobs used to go to reporters who spent years cutting their teeth on newspaper beats, and now they're going to students whose most prominent experience on their resumes is their editing job at their college newspaper. They're being prepped by the veterans in the newsroom now, getting ready for a year on the road during the election. Some of the first things they learned? "never get too close to a source; master the art of eating while driving; never rely on a hotel wake-up call." Budget cuts are generally to blame for the particularly green crop of political kids:
Now, more and more, because of budget cutbacks, those once coveted jobs are being filled by brand new journalists at a fraction of the salary. It is not so glamorous anymore.
For these reporters the 2012 campaign is both the assignment of a lifetime and the kind of experience that is tying their stomachs in knots. Three of them are just out of college. One just got engaged. And none of them seem quite sure what to expect from more than a year on the road.
The pup reporters are being taught to think before they tweet:
“If Jon Huntsman drops out of the race, we want to know back at the news desk,” Caroline Horn, senior producer for politics at CBS Evening News, told them. “We don’t want to find out about it on Twitter.”
They're also being advised that their behavior is constantly being watched. As pointed out by the Times, ABC News' recently wrote a list of "13 Pieces of Campaign Advice for Young Reporters." Number 11 on the list was "Someone somewhere thinks things you say and do are interesting and reportable." CBS reporter Fernando Saurez warned them of a time he was checking his phone during a speech Hilary Clinton was giving, and the next day a blogger who had snapped a picture did a story on the media being "disengaged." Ron Fournier, the editor-in-chief of National Journal, compared the job to getting arrested, "Everything you say can and will be used against you."
[Disclosure: pieces from the National Journal are occasionally published on the Atlantic Wire.]