WEST ORANGE, NJ — Journalism classes at West Orange High School were given a special opportunity to be included in a seminar headlined by the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, Karen Pensiero. Pensiero covered a range of conversation topics from her rural roots in the Midwest to working her way up in the Big Apple.
Pensiero grew up in Missouri with an exposure to news as her parents kept three local newspaper subscriptions active during her youth. Heading into her teen years, she was involved with her high school’s newspaper, earning the role of co-editor-in-chief. Pensiero noted that this position fueled her passion even more because she felt like she was always the best journalist in the room, a mentality that has stuck with her throughout her career. She credited her journalism teacher as an important figure who was knowledgeable in the craft, and Pensiero took that knowledge with her to the University of Central Missouri.
Looking to pursue a career in journalism, she sought an internship at the WSJ. She was as hands-on as possible during her internship and not just a “coffee run person.” As a result, she soon received a full-time gig in New York City.
“The way you get hired in journalism is how you get hired anywhere else,” Pensiero said. “The most important aspect of keeping a job is to be hard working. Show up earlier than everyone and leave later than everyone else.”
Pensiero said that a decline in young readers is beginning to show and, like other news platforms, the WSJ is attempting to reel in this key demographic by utilizing social media. She believes that a trusted news source will reach the same value as other services, such as Netflix and Spotify.
The online paper has its own minor flaw. Popular online user hours limit the paper with a small window of opportunity to publish the major stories of the day. Pensiero works with employees to help ensure articles are published to accommodate those online visitors. She takes her job seriously and executes orders passionately.
“Journalism is essential, because it helps shine light on issues that may not be heard of until now. It is a voice for the oppressed and puts the people in power in question,” she said.
This article was written by Matt Camacho, copy editor for The Pioneer, the West Orange High School newspaper, and a member of the Mountaineer Media Team.