Yesterday in class, we got a personal visit from the legendary Ann Friedman! She was coming to Mizzou to speak to the Online News Association on campus (which I also attended later that day) and Katherine managed to get her to stop by during lecture to talk about her life and journalism experience in the real world.
Before ONA advertised Friedman’s visit, I hadn’t heard much about her – just her name in passing. But her story sounded incredible!
Friedman is a graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, and after leaving Missouri and spending a couple years gaining experience, she landed an editor position at GOOD magazine. According to Friedman, this was a pretty decent gig… until the owner of the magazine decided to shut it all down, and Friedman and all of her coworkers were fired.
This is the point where Friedman began to develop into the incredible freelance writer, podcaster and pie-chart artist that she is today. In an attempt to find more writing jobs, she started a newsletter (which now has over 25,000 subscribers) and created a weekly podcast called “Call Your Girlfriend” with her long-distance best friend.
Below are two examples of the hilarious pie charts that she sends out to her newsletter subscribers each week:
In talking about her experience, Friedman encouraged us, as aspiring young journalists, to not worry to much about our futures. The reality is, things are going to happen. We’re going to get fired from a job, or two. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to feel completely lost at times. But, it’s all going to be okay!
Hearing this from someone with so much experience and so much raw talent made me a lot more confident in my abilities as a journalist. I know that my time here at the journalism school will help me immensely when I move on into the real world, and that even when it feels like I’ve hit rock bottom, things are always going to get better!
I hope to someday be able to be as successful as Friedman and to truly enjoy what I do as much as she does. I think it helps that she has a sense of humor with just about everything in life. Friedman truly is inspirational and it was an honor to be able to hear and learn from her.
Oh, and if you’re interested in learning more about Ann Friedman or looking at all of her publications, podcasts, etc., check out her website here.