Journalist and sports writer Christian Red ’90 spoke with students about his experience at the New York Daily News and the changing nature of journalism on April 5.
Ater graduating from Hamilton with a double major in English and Spanish, Red admitted that he had no idea what he wanted to do. The beginning of his journalism career had its ups and downs, and Red advised students to always be prepared to handle failure. As for his first interview for the New York Daily News, he said, “it went as badly as you could possibly imagine.”
Right off the bat, the interviewer asked him what he thought of the reporters at the Daily News. “I wasn’t prepared for what the editor was going to ask. I should have taken a closer look at what the Daily News sports section was doing at the time and familiarized myself with the reporters,” he said. “She asked me that question, there was a long silence, and then the interview was over. We said goodbye, and I thought I would never see her again in my life.”
When he got his second chance at the New York Daily News, Red jumped at the opportunity. “I did as much work as I could, and I didn’t ask questions. Whatever was available, I volunteered to help—whether it was researching for an article, recording high school scores, or handling the phone at the front desk,” Red said. “Once I was done with all that, I still went back to the editors and asked if there was more that I could do.”
In his job now as a reporter for the Daily News sports section, Red has won several awards, including first place honors for investigative reporting and feature writing at the Associated Press Sports Editors (ASPE) awards.
“Ultimately, I think all my hard work paid off,” he said. “I learned that there’s never a bad time to offer whatever it is you can. Always be enthusiastic, always be ready. Whatever help or services you can offer goes a long way with making a positive impact in the workplace.”
Through the lessons drawn from his personal experience in the industry, Red says the best thing for the next generation of journalists is to be ready to adapt to the changing times.
Red was carrying a stack of print newspapers under his arm when he walked into the student meeting. “This was around when I went here,” he said, dropping the newspapers onto the table. “But a lot of what we’re looking at now—cellphones, twitter, computers—none of that was there in the old newsrooms. The face of this industry is changing, every single day.”
When Red started in the newsroom in 2002, all he had to do was write. “These days, in the age we live in, you have to be ready to improvise and be innovative,” Red said. “It used to be an editor assigning writers the articles, but those days are over. If you see something, you have to be thinking on your feet. You have to be the one to take the pictures, film the video, put something together that works as a multimedia piece of journalism.”
Even though journalism is changing, Red told students not to fear. “There will always be great news and great reporters out there. Whatever you choose to cover—sports, news, politics, daily life—learn as much as you can and be prepared to handle whatever comes your way,” he said. “No matter what happens to the industry, the fundamentals of good reporting will always be there.”