N3ConU Mentor Match: Welcome Class Of 2018!
The applications are in and the wraps are off as the inaugural year of N3ConU Mentor Match hosts a group of 14 mentors and 16 mentees to discuss and develop journalism careers in Asia.
The pairs will touch base at least quarterly from April 2018 to April 2019, and have the opportunity to meet at N3Con 2018 in Hong Kong, May 25-27.
Most of the mentors are long-time veterans who have a passion for bringing up the next generation or providing the guidance they did or didn’t have when they were rising through the ranks. Learn about the mentors here.
Meanwhile, most mentees are students or early-career journalists who are seeking to sharpen their reporting, learn a new skill or form a game plan for their career.
But the survey reveals a generational divide in skill sets: Mentees are honing digital and multimedia skill sets while seasoned veterans are professionals of traditional platforms.
We sincerely thank all participants for volunteering their time and feedback to develop this program. Scroll down for insights about who the mentors and mentees are, and why they joined N3ConU Mentor Match.
- Our mentors have given tips about how to make the best use of everyone’s time and get the most out of a mentoring experience:
- Be prepared. Remember that a typical mentor is most likely a veteran journalist who is offering his or her time because they want to help improve skills and career advancement. Their time is valuable. If a mentee is unprepared or does not have complete answers about what was their best article in the past three months or what their proudest newsroom accomplishment was, then it should be an option to sever the relationship.
- Follow up. It is the mentees’ responsibility to follow up. Failure to follow up with your mentor demonstrates a lack of responsibility and respect for their time. If they haven’t replied back to you, don’t worry – they may just be busy. Try again in a few days. If there’s still no success, then contact a mentor program director.
- Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and be open to constructive criticism.
- Maintain a constant level of professionalism.
- Outline specific questions, goals and outcomes. Be fully prepared with responses to questions about your accomplishments and goals.
- The mentee should periodically fill out feedback forms to report whether there is regular and sufficient contact with the mentor, whether it is useful and what else the mentee would like to see in the mentor relationship (or if the mentee wants a new mentor).
- Do not expect a job recommendation letter. The mentor has not worked with or supervised you before, and would not be in a position to write such a recommendation (unless otherwise agreed).
About the mentors
More than half of mentors are seasoned veterans of the industry. (Learn about them here.)
The mentors are most experienced in print (9), broadcast for TV (7), and news wires (5).
More than half have been mentors before.
The reasons for generously volunteering their time to help another AAJA member develop their career are diverse. Here are some reasons why they do it:
“As minority journalists, it is often more difficult for us to ask or receive help in our profession. No one will do this with more passion than someone who has survived and prospered in an industry that is insular and often intimidating to young minority journalists.”
“I think there’s a gap between what journalism students or recent graduates know about the industry and the actual reality of what’s going on in newsrooms and during the job hunting process. The mentor program should brief and prepare young journalists to deal with the challenges ahead, and to better equip themselves.”
“All I wanted was to avoid a boss that tells me what to report and what not to report for the wrong reason. But it wasn’t easy. Perhaps I can share some tips on how to find/work for a boss with high ethical and journalistic standards.”
“There have been a couple of mentors in my life who continue to inspire me till this day and I hope to be able to pay it forward by doing the same for others.”
“I never had anybody to talk with when I was a beat reporter or researcher/writer.”
“It is my passion to share my knowledge and experience with more journalists in this region. Mentorship might be another way to do that.”
About the mentees
More than 80% of mentees are female.
Most mentees of all experience levels have digital journalism training, interest or experience.
Most mentees are students or early-career journalists with 0-5 years of experience.
The reasons and goals for mentorship can be wide-ranging across skill and experience levels. Here’s why some of our mentees have joined the program:
“It is rather difficult to find willing mentors who guide me on women’s issues and in English specifically. I am looking for someone I can look up to for journalism advice but also someone who will be able to guide me with their experience in this competitive field.”
“I want to hone my skills in pitching stories and creating unique content that doesn’t just reiterate existing work.”
“Coming from a business education background and entering the financial journalism space, I am fairly new to the field and would be honoured to receive some guidance in my first year on the job.”
“My goals for mentorship are to sharpen my career objectives, be accountable for following through and learn about the industry and networks that may get me there.”
“I often feel that I have hit a ceiling in what I can do and have no mentor-like colleague who can offer guidance. I would benefit from a mentor who can push me to think in new ways and challenge me to do more, as well as provide advice for what I can do in the future.”
Missed out on mentoring?
Want to develop a career in Asia? Become a member of the AAJA-Asia chapter to get news about our mentoring programs.
If you’re in the U.S., apply for AAJA National’s Mentor Match program: https://www.aaja.org/mentoring-program