School of Journalism alumna Catherine Lindsay recently started a new position at Dow Jones in Barcelona, where she edits copy for their wire service. We were able to learn more about her new position in the Q+A below!
Tell us about your role at Dow Jones
I am a copy editor on the EMEA team, based in Barcelona, for Dow Jones Newswires, which focuses on business news and market commentary. We take copy from two teams of reporters–the EMEA desk and the UK desk– and edit according to our style before adding specific codes to each story so it reaches the right reader. As I work for a wire service, there is a lot of information sent out every second. This means our readers–many of whom are business professionals–filter through to find the stories they need. From the copy desk, we are also in constant communication with other bureaus and hubs around the world. This means we are ready to send out flash headlines for breaking news, which has to be done in under a minute. We also deal with a lot of economic indicators.
What does a typical day look like for you? Are there any projects or stories you’d like to mention?
Our office is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., meaning editors and reporters come at different times to cover the whole period. There is a definite flow to the day and the year. Our busiest times during the day are between 8 and 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Over the course of the year, we have several coverage peaks, when companies report their earnings. I deal with several daily fixtures–evergreen story formats that are recurring–such as a morning briefing on Nordic markets; I edit throughout the day and I add analysis to stories where I can. We are currently working on increasing our coverage of exchange-traded funds, which are investment funds traded on stock exchanges that seem to attract younger investors.
What do you like about the job?
It is very fast paced and gives me insight into the workings of a wire service. Because it is so focused on business, It has allowed me to learn a lot (and very quickly) about this topic and the technical terms necessary to succeed in covering it. Dow Jones is a far-reaching company and this has enabled me to meet and talk with people in other positions and publications around the world–their advice has been very valuable! My team is also very collaborative and we have great communication.
Why did you want to get into journalism?
I discovered a passion for journalism my sophomore year at Northeastern after taking J-1. I have always aspired to defend truth over ignorance and discovered that I was a good writer and editor thanks to my mentors at NEU. I can’t say it enough: the professors and teachers in the journalism department at NEU are amazing and really push you. I was able to explore so many different aspects of journalism and cover things I was really interested in. They helped me not be afraid to take on projects that seemed too big to handle.
How did Northeastern prepare you for this kind of work?
The co-op program was a huge help for me. On the one hand, it allowed me to experience real-world issues in journalism and taught me to learn quickly and ask questions (constantly). I think it is very valuable to be someone who can adapt to a new environment seamlessly and catch on early to skills others would only get after a few months. The other thing it allowed me to do–and this is something that is easily dismissed but shouldn’t be– is to get used to a working schedule again. After four years in college, with fewer physical class hours, one can forget what it’s like working in an office for eight or nine hours a day.
Any advice for current students?
To journalism students, the main thing I would recommend is keep an open mind. We all want to work for the New York Times and Washington Posts of the world, but there are so many great publications out there and they will all teach you something different. Don’t get so fixated on your first job out of college–It’s your FIRST job and it doesn’t determine your career (ask anyone). I have found that it’s not just the job or position that matters at our age: it’s also where you are, who you are with, and what kind of work-life balance you are able to maintain.
Don’t despair if you don’t receive answers right away; many online application sites are not updated frequently. Reach out to an editor or an old colleague to really get the inside scoop on available positions.
The last thing I would say is when you do start working, keep a positive attitude. It will go a long way with your colleagues and managers. Talk to as many people as you can in your organization–understand their career paths. You will meet some cynical people–they are in every news organization–but stay level-headed and professional. You’ll be fine.