On January 23, 2017, Monday night’s Media Storytelling class had a noteworthy first guest speaker take the floor – Josie Loza, manager of student publications for The Gateway. Loza is a University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) alumni, former Omaha World-Herald (OWH) staff writer and former Momaha.com editor. She shared how her career path has come full circle, and how persistency and networking has been key throughout.
The beginning of her journalism career happened shortly after graduating high school at OWH. They gave her a position as a messenger. She was a mail deliverer who handed out newspapers to every single reporter’s desk.
Although Loza didn’t begin her career writing, she enjoyed her next position at OWH archiving photos, where her fascination of archives and appreciation for history was sparked. Working in the OWH library she said she enjoyed studying the wealth of information.
When the opportunity arose to write her first piece, it was an obituary. Although it wasn’t breaking news, this opened her eyes to writing and the storytelling behind it.
“As reporters we have to stop and just listen to people. If you listen, all the showing details are right there,” said Loza.
Loza gave some great advice as far as getting started in the career of journalism, especially focusing on internships.
“Don’t wait until your senior year to do internships. Do it as a freshman,” said Loza. “My freshman year I knocked on the Gateway door.”
Persistency and (overcoming) failure were two key things Loza repeated throughout her lecture:
- “Persistency will get you everything in life.”
- “Your failures are your biggest learning lessons.”
- “You will persevere and it will make you stronger.”
- “There’s no such thing as being an annoying journalist.”
She learned the value of persistency during her time at The Gateway. When things didn’t go as planned she learned how to be clever, crafty and persistent to get what she needed. Networking was also a big part of the discussion toward the end of her lecture.
“Make the time to network. Call the Omaha World-Herald. Wherever. Tell them you’d like to shadow and breathe it all in,” Loza said.
Aside from networking, self-promotion was the last piece of advice Loza gave.
“There is no shameless promotion. Keep branding yourself. You are your own brand. You have to sell yourself to your employers,” Loza said.