Peter Schroeder (G ‘10)
“Sometimes you can feel more like a referee or a marriage counselor than a reporter, but one of the perks of the job is getting to hear the best arguments from all sides in an attempt to nail down the truth.”
MPS Journalism Ambassador Peter Schroeder graduated from the program in Summer 2010 and currently works as a Staff Writer at The Hill. His specialty is covering financial issues and politics. Peter worked in DC journalism prior to starting the program and shared with us how the program rounded out his journalism skill set.
MPS Journalism: Tell us how your degree from the Journalism program has impacted and/or changed your career.
Peter Schroeder: I was already working in the journalism field when I began Georgetown’s MPS Journalism program, but had not received any formal training in the field. The years I spent at Georgetown allowed me to not only cover those gaps in my understanding, but also gave me the chance to try out a range of different storytelling techniques and mediums that my day job would not allow. Furthermore, taking classes at Georgetown gave me the chance to interact on a regular basis with faculty who spend their days working in the journalism industry, gaining invaluable insight and professional contacts along the way.”
MPS JO: Why did you pick Georgetown’s Journalism program? How did you hear about us?
PS: I heard about the program just as it was starting from a friend, and was immediately interested. Getting the chance to further my academic training at a place like Georgetown, with its great history, was an obvious plus. At the same time, it was exciting to be joining a program that was just getting its feet under it, before things became too calcified and rigid. The combination of historic achievement coupled with that start-up appeal made for an enticing combination.
MPS JO: Who is your favorite working journalist?
PS: It’s impossible to pick just one, because the field is so wide and varied and is getting more so every day. There are scores of hard-working, very smart people cranking out quality work. But there are particular names I’ll always make an effort to read when they produce something. Michael Lewis, Robert Draper and Matt Bai consistently crank out excellent long-form pieces on complex issues that are as illuminating as they are entertaining.
MPS JO: How did you balance your work, life and school responsibilities while in the program?
PS: It can definitely be a challenge juggling everything, especially when studying journalism. The biggest obstacle is that most classwork in a journalism class involves doing journalism, which can’t be achieved during late-night cramming sessions. Fortunately, I had an understanding editor and an understanding wife who knew that sometimes I had to take some time out of my day to line up an interview with a key source for a school project.
MPS JO: What one interview for a piece you’ve done has changed your perspective on a topic/issue/etc.?
PS: It’s hard to nail down a particular interview, not because it hasn’t happened, but because it happens so often. One of the great things about this job is that you get to talk to lots of people who know issues inside and out and listen to them make their case. You’ll often find yourself in the middle of a heated debate and hear about an issue from two or more sides. Sometimes you can feel more like a referee or a marriage counselor than a reporter, but one of the perks of the job is getting to hear the best arguments from all sides in an attempt to nail down the truth.
MPS JO: What one piece of advice would you give current students?
PS: Be open to everything. Taking classes in the program offers a top-notch opportunity to try out a wide variety of approaches to journalism. I took an audio/photography production class and a video production class, despite the fact that I was working in print journalism and had every intention of staying in the written field. These days, it never hurts to have a baseline of skill in a wide range of approaches. Beyond that, take advantage of the faculty and the advice they have to offer. Since they are all working journalists, they have the direct experience you are trying to achieve, so listen up.