To The Would-Be-Journalists


Zhanserik Temirtashev

Right: Zhanserik Temirtashev; Left: Marc Lacey, Managing Editor of The New York Times

Zhanserik Temirtashev, Managing Editor

New York City, N.Y. — Above a crowd of passionate student journalists rests an uneasy thought: what’s next for us once graduation comes?
The Pioneer staff, alongside over 600 fellow student journalists from across the country, were given a glimpse into what awaits beyond the commencement stage by veterans of the industry at the 2023 College Media Association Conference between Mar. 9 to Mar. 11.
Ramon Escobar, the Senior Vice President of Talent Recruitment and Development at CNN led the first keynote session, professing the merits of having a unique identity and expressing it as means toward career advancement. Raised in an immigrant household, Escobar’s parents instilled in him a sense of curiosity and an appreciation for cultural diversity by connecting young Ramon to his Latino heritage through numerous voyages to Colombia and El Salvador. As Escobar grew older, he noted that the Latin America he had known and experienced was anything but what it had been depicted as on TV, which inspired him to pursue a career in media to remedy the lopsided image of Latin culture. Today, Escobar is committed to his mission of broadening network representation by preparing the next generation of talent.
Marc Lacey, the Managing Editor of The New York Times, spoke on the second day of the conference, offering field advice and personal anecdotes as guidance. The former editor-in-chief for Cornell University’s student newspaper, The Sun, had two options after his collegial tenure: continue with journalism as an intern at the Washington Post or attend graduate school to pursue biology. Lacey chose the former, recalling how he, the once-bold freshman who was escorted out of the New York Times lobby, was bent on returning in grace.
Lacey’s approach to career development is mercurial and laissez-faire, eschewing the fixed mindset that many starting professionals subscribe to. “Your career will not go according to plan,” he cautioned, recommending that students “make impossible aims and methodically achieve them” by letting their passions guide them.
In their addresses to the students, both speakers encouraged aspiring journalists to embrace themselves, leverage their passions, and maintain a tenacious work ethic to make their voices heard in an otherwise saturated market. By allowing oneself to get lost in their interests, “you will be the future of journalism,” Lacey concluded.