• Bebe Hodges '18

Writing for the Wall Street Journal

We have all heard of The Wall Street Journal. It is the most circulated newspaper in the United States. It is printed six days a week by Dow Jones & Company and it investigates business both on a domestic and global scale. In other words, writing for The Journal is a pretty big deal.

Though we recognize the name and its credibility, what it takes to be a journalist for such a paper may remain a mystery to us. However, on October 16, 2017, Ellen Byron, a WSJ staff reporter of 17 years, gave Saint Ursula Academy students an answer.

As with most careers, Byron exemplifies that a lot of hours are necessary before success can be achieved. This applies to almost every aspect of life; students can’t perfect their dribble without practice on the soccer field or improve the planet without science classes. Similarly, Byron’s time interning at a small newspaper during her summers off from Carleton College, made a job at The Wall Street Journal tangible. Because she was at a small place, she was able to write often and establish a name for herself. Byron advises aspiring journalists to “have a good resume [...] and to keep trying to get your work published.”

She also notes the importance of female role-models. Though The Wall Street Journal is stereotypically a male-dominated paper, the business, leadership, and life and style writer is not worried about her ability to deliver, and rightfully so. Byron makes her mark by continuously writing her best and because early on she “sought out role models to follow” like through her “work for inspiring female editors.” The journalist also exhibits the talents of impressive women she meets every day. One of the journalist’s most noteworthy experiences was spending a week in the southern tip of India, where she met with some of the few remaining women who still make lace by hand. Through Byron’s article she showcases their gift to the world, and thus demonstrating that extraordinary women are of all cultures.

Now that you know how to achieve such impressive success, you may be wondering what the daily routine is for a business writer in the Big Apple. A typical day for the journalist begins with discovering any major news that occurred the night before with a quick phone check and devising a list of the day’s goals on her way to work. While at the office she sets up interviews, phone calls, meetings, and often has brainstorming sessions with colleagues during lunch. It is during this busy schedule that Byron discovers the “slices of culture” that makes her writing so interesting and unique. Through networking inside and outside of the paper, Byron searches for answers. She is always searching, especially for what makes a certain group, demographic, business, etc. unique or relevant. She admits her ideas “come from everywhere,” ranging from conversation with experts, to items displayed in stores, to subjects detailed on social media.

The WSJ staff writer knows how to network, manage her time, and most importantly how to write. However, what I find extremely inspiring about Byron is how she demonstrates to every woman that accomplishing your pursuits is possible. She epitomizes the smart, strong, impressive, and curious woman that Ursula girls often aspire to be. She makes dreams becomes a reality, making us wonder if we too could be living in New York and investigating for The Wall Street Journal.

Read Byron’s articles here: https://www.wsj.com/news/author/1276


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