Commerce residents might have noticed that Ryan Scott, who once cranked out multiple articles weekly for the Commerce Journal, is no longer in the news business. But, he hasn’t gone far. Scott is still in Commerce, and now works at the university. Journalists often refer to leaving journalism for public relations as “going to the dark side,” but many ex-journos find that they enjoy helping an organization or institution that they believe in, while enjoying the more regular work schedule that an office job provides.
Let’s catch up with Ryan:
What are you doing professionally these days?
I now work as the E-Communications Specialist for Marketing and Communications at A&M-Commerce. Mainly, I am the lead administrator of the university’s social media accounts. In addition, I administer the university’s online event calendar, manually reviewing and approving event submissions and helping people with any issues they are having with the system. I also get to do a fair bit of writing as well, which is not too dissimilar to my old job. However, now I am writing and sending out press releases instead of receiving them.
What was the best part about working for the Commerce Journal?
Some of the best things about writing for the Commerce Journal and Herald-Banner newspapers were they unique stories to be told. I have met many interesting individuals that have stories that I will remember for a lifetime. I also enjoyed covering both A&M-Commerce and Commerce High School sports, and being there for the teams’ ups and downs.
What was the most challenging or difficult part of the job?
I try not to be overly critical, but sometimes people’s tendency to read just the headline and not go any further before leaving their thoughts on an article just drove me up the wall. But those were isolated incidents that didn’t reflect the readership as a whole. Also, the unpredictability of the profession makes it hard to manage a life outside of work. It’s difficult to take just a little time for yourself or go out of town when something big can happen at any moment.
What memories from the Journal do you think will stay with you the most?
I will definitely cherish the feelings of accomplishment whenever a big story broke or when I laid out a really good-looking issue of the Commerce Journal as a page designer. I made many good friends in four years at the paper, and was heartbroken to see it get discontinued. But I still wish everyone there all the best.
What advice would you have for someone getting started in the newspaper business as a reporter?
I would just say to hit the ground running. I was kind of thrown to the wolves right away at the Journal, but I think it helped me develop a robust skill set and a keen sense for getting things done without being told what to do. Just make sure to keep a good calendar, save every business card, phone number or email address you can find, and do your best to make your community feel like you have them covered.