Sarah Krouse didn’t originally mean to get into journalism. She was looking to make money and found an ad on Craigslist for a D.C. Real Estate Blog.
Now, she’s a reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
She started her path as an English major, but admits, “I’m nosey, so I think that’s the main starting point.” She began taking journalism courses and loved the thrill of writing on assignment. She recounts one assignment where the class watched a fake press conference and had 20 minutes to write a story.
“The pressure of that really appealed to me,” she says.
After college, she went to work at the Washington Business Journal full-time.
“Working at a trade pub was a great way to learn,” she says. “Even roles that seem very nitty-gritty can teach you a lot about the wiring.”
After three years, she decided she wanted to try working abroad. She applied for jobs in London and ended up with the Dow Jones at the Financial News.
“I was on the ground floor writing things like asset management firms,” she recalls. “It taught me the guts of finance and how the plumbing works.”
She became a beat reporter, eventually moving to the U.S. office and in 2015, transitioning over to The Wall Street Journal. “It’s a privilege to do journalism at The Journal,” she says. She enjoys the team effort that goes into getting a story printed. “When you have the beginning of an idea, there are a lot of hands reaching down or across to pull you upward or forward,” she says, noting that her team helps take ideas and nurture them into bigger, more ambitious ideas.
Sarah advises beginner reporters to read a lot. “Read what competitors are writing, read what colleagues are writing, keep an eye on press releases but also watch company filings. What they don’t announce is often the most interesting,” she says. “Learn where the paper trail leads, look at the career section and see what talent the company is trying to bring on board.”
But she acknowledges that there is no one path to success. When she was starting off, she was handed a book list on banking and finance and told to “go for it.”
“It was a combination of doing my homework and writing about these institutions that laid the foundation for writing the harder, bigger stories. Find a role where you can get a foundational education or get thrown into the deep end.”
Four months ago, she moved from covering money managers to the telecommunications beat.
“It’s cool because it’s a little more accessible,” she says. “My mom knows what I’m writing about now. It’s the telephone, it’s the center of everyone’s universe right now. Anytime you switch beats, it’s a huge learning curve. There’s a mental exercise to that, which helps you become a more well-rounded reporter.”
Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.