When deciding on a career path, many students start by finding something they excel at, that was how Tina Firesheets got her start in journalism. “I was always told I was a good writer,” said Firesheets.
Firesheets attended Brevard College for two years followed by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She majored in communications because most careers in journalism didn’t pay well. She interned at the Hendersonville Times News and fell in love with the business. Though the money was limited, Firesheets couldn’t escape her passion for reporting.
After graduation, she applied to be a writer at the Greensboro News & Record. Firesheets was denied the job and opted to work as a free lance reporter (without pay) for the Newspaper’s entertainment magazine. After two years of hard work, Firesheets was eventually hired by the Greensboro News & Record. The experience taught Firesheets an important lesson learned by many professional reporters, “Never give up.”
According to Firesheets, The Greensboro News & Record originally assigned reporters to cover specific areas, known as bureaus. They hoped that by paying special attention to local stories, they would attract more subscribers. Firesheets began as a reporter for the High Point Bureau. She saw it as her personal responsibility to “be that community’s voice.”
Eventually, Firesheets was promoted to her dream job as a feature writer/columnist. “I could write about whatever I wanted,” said Firesheets. “Everyday I learned something new.”
Recently, Firesheets was assigned to General assignments. As a general assignment reporter “you are at the mercy of your editor,” in that he/she tells you what topic to write about. Although Firesheets admits that she misses the luxury of writing features, she has learned many fascinating things.
After more than 15 years in the business, Firesheets has learned a lot. “I originally got in it for the writing, but I’ve found reporting to be more fun,” said Firesheets. Her advice to students interested in pursuing journalism is, “If you like to learn, are naturally curious and like to meet new people, this is for you.”
7 Tips From Tina Firesheets
1. Always be on time
2.Talk about your topic with your peers to help narrow the focus
3. Be concise in your writing
4. Dress up for interviews
5. Make smart choices, don’t put your life in danger
6. Be flexible and prepared to face obstacles
7. Don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance and ask for information