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Alumnus returns to campus to discuss business journalism

By Mary Cathryn Armstrong

 

It's been nearly four years since Hank Gilman has set foot on campus of his alma mater. But, as he remarked, there are some things that time really does not change.

"I see not much is different down there in the Coliseum," he said with a laugh. "It looks almost exactly the same as it did when I was a student."

Hank GilmanThe former deputy managing editor of Fortune Magazine and SJMC alumnus paid an extended visit to the J-school as part of the Baldwin Business Journalism Initiative, speaking to the business journalism class and discussing careers and the keys to journalistic success. Also participating in the initiative during the last week of March was 2012 alumnus Josh Dawsey, now a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York.

During his guest lectures, Gilman elaborated on many of the students' biggest questions about a professional career in journalism and provided in-depth insight into the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the job. He recounted his own personal triumphs in the industry and fielded questions about what to expect when students leave the underground comfort of the Coliseum and enter into the working world. And, of course, Gilman touched on one of the most heated debates among news organizations today: the death of traditional journalism. But instead of playing into the fear, Gilman said that he believes there is, in fact, plenty of hope for aspiring writers.

"I think there's so many different options out there," he said, citing app developers, websites and traditional publications as only a handful of media available in the journalism job market. "If you want to do it, you'll do it. And if you have talent, you'll succeed."

Gilman, a 1975 journalism graduate, began his career as a freelance business reporter in Boston, after receiving his masters from Indiana University. He covered a range of topics for the Wall Street Journal in the mid-'80s during the big boom of technology in economics before crossing over into editorial management for the business section of the Boston Globe. His career as a journalist has spanned nearly three decades, gifting him with two awards for editing and a resume laden with prominent global news sources, such as Newsweek.

Although much of Gilman's sessions focused on fundamentals of the craft, the more important message was one of optimism for the future of journalism. He sees the transitions the industry is undergoing as positive and believes there will always be a need for people to tell the story.

"I want students to be optimistic about the profession they're going into," he explained. "We wonder, 'Is it the end of times? Is it the death of journalism?' But there will always be storytelling in some form."

 


 

Armstrong photo

 
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