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."
The 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."