Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson shares tips with SMC journalists


Chronicle news columnist Chip Johnson spoke with candor about Oakland city politics in his October 5 talk to SMC’s  American Journalism class. Here are some comments from students:

–       I thoroughly enjoyed Chips’ talk.  He related to our age group well and really gave us some valuable tips for becoming better journalists.  He was very funny and knowledgeable and gave off the feeling that he loves his job and enjoys simply sitting and talking to others.  Like he said, journalists never stop learning and I can see that to be true in myself as a new journalist and evident in him as a seasoned veteran who knows his stuff.

–       All in all, Johnson’s visit to this class was very helpful and informative. Students were able to gain an understanding of the hardships as well as the rewards of pursuing a career in journalism: although it may seem tough to have to accept a lot critical feedback in a career like this, writing is a skill that is needed everywhere and journalists are the ones that have this skill.


–       I had the feeling that Chip Johnson genuinely wanted to teach us. He was very interested in our questions and encouraged them. He ended with giving us advice on how to survive in the field of journalism: writing and interviewing. It takes practice and a lifetime to achieve he said. Chip also emphasized the need of concision. And for columnists, you have to be nosy (he used another phrase) and aggressive. I really learned a lot from our interview with Chip. It makes me really consider becoming a column writer.


–       I thought it was very interesting to find out that Johnson had never wanted to be a journalist when he was younger. He didn’t even start college until he was 25, and didn’t even consider journalism as a major or even career until one day someone asked him to write a story and he said he never stopped since then.


–         Overall, Chip Johnson is not only a great journalist, but a great person as well.  He’s a man who doesn’t question his thoughts, but is honest when displaying those thoughts to the public.  Many journalists today are not looking to be honest in their writings, but are looking to get the best story possible.  Chip Johnson is the exact opposite, and has found a way to be successful while still being a great person.


–       I really enjoyed Chip Johnson’s visit to class. He shared with us a lot of really useful information. Chip also shared with us some really intriguing stories about things that he’s covered as a journalist. Between the stories that he told and the stories that we heard from Thomas Peele, I definitely realize now just how important journalism is. I also realized how dangerous it can be and I respect both Chip and Thomas so much for the type of work that they do.


–       Johnson had a lot of great advice for the class he ended with the urge to get our articles published because the more you do it the better you get at it. He also gave some advice on getting a job “ the best way to get a job is to show that you can do the job” Johnson said.  Similar to our last guest, a common theme is hard work pays off.


–       Not being afraid to share your opinion really stuck to me after Johnson’s lecture. I am going to try my hardest to not have this fear of being judged. Getting my opinion out there will help me let go of that fear. Johnson was quite inspiring and all his stories were very interesting. He could recount them in an orderly and informative fashion as if we just have read it form the newspaper or online article.



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