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October 25, 1985 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-10-25
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Column:
The value of an

nter

By Laurie DeLater
W HAT KIND OF a mess did I
get myself into?" I wailed
into the phone to my father, who was
hundreds of miles back home in

Michigan. It was a week into my in-
ternship at The Pittsburgh Press and
the day my first story ran - what was
left of it, anyway, after a lousy editing
job.
Like any nervous intern, I had spent
several painstaking hours on my first

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assignment. After all, isn't an inter-
ship of any sort a test of a college
student's ability to succeed outside
Academica's Ivory Towers? Not only
had I failed in the eyes of one boss, but
in my eyes the profession, after only
five days, had failed too.
Without much sympathy, my father
responded: "Welcome to the real
world." Indeed, that poor editing ex-
perience was the first of several not-
so-pleasant tastes of journalism I got
during my 10-week stay. At times, I
wondered why I hadn't chosen a
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nship
more promising profession - such as
engineering, as Dad had always en-
couraged. But as I look back on the
experiences of my internship now,
I'm much more inclined to giggle than
grimace. Each of those gut-wrenchers
taught me a lesson. And enough
rewarding experiences along the way
convinced me that I had made the
right career choice.
The hatchet editing taught me not to
experiment with standard style on
deadline news stories. Just cover the
news and bring back the information
the editor expects in a well-written
format that's easy to understand.
That became my motto, and it fueled
my determination to tackle any
assignment sent my way.
I was so determined, in fact, that I
jumped at the chance one afternoon to
cover a possible steelworkers' union
strike at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel
Corp. I was to drive to a mill town and
interview an average union member.
Did he reallycsupport the union's
threat, which could spell long-term
unemployment with no income at all
for rank-and-file members and even
the demise of the company? I was to
bring back a profile for the next day's
paper. It sounded easy.
But the nearest Wheeling-Pitt mill
was in Monessen, a good 35 miles
from Pittsburgh via bumpy and
twisty roads. When I arrived at 7
p.m., I found the streets barren and
downtown shops and restaurants
closed for the day. But there was
nooooo way I was going to give up.
Eventually a Monessen resident
directed me to a bar usually packed
with steelworkers. I was relieved until
I went inside and saw only one man-
a 250-pounder throwing darts. Sure
enough, the bartender confirmed that
"Wimpy" was a steelworker. The

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motorcycle parked outside must be
his, I thought, noticing his gold-loop
earring, long hair, and wallet chain.
I swallowed hard, walked over, in-
troduced myself and my mission, and
persuaded him to join me at the bar.
After a half-hour of simple talk and
beer, he opened up about the strike.
He was far from the down-and-out,
mortgage-burdened man I expected to
find, but he shared the strikers' fears
as well as their fiery will to fight.
I came back with a pretty colorful
story. And the city editors liked it so
well they sentme out two weeksafter
the strike began to assess its
economic and emotional impact on
several milltowns in Pennsylvania
and Ohio. This time my notes and im-
pressions from dozens of interviews
with town officials, businessmen,
clergymen, and steelworkers wound
up as an in-depth story for the Sunday
paper.
Naturally, not all of the interviews
went so easily. I had plenty of phones
slammed in my ear by people who
refused to talk. (One short story drew
an angry letter-to-the-editor from two
Pittsburgh officials.) I even had to
mail a letter to one source asking for
See INTERNSHIP, Page 19

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Daily illustration by Laura Weiss
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1921

iBy Amy Mindell
Before you realize it, the Real
World sneaks up on you. It's time to
decide what you want to do for a
living after you graduate from
college.
Your choices may be already
limited by classes passed - and
failed - and by the current cycle of
the national economy.
The U.S.Department of Commerce
reports that the service sector will
create the most jobs by 1990. Already,
three-quarters of the nation's jobs are
in this sector, which includes such
fields as finance, insurance, real
estate, transportation, and com-
munication.
And overall, the commerce depar-
tment expects salaries across the
board to rise by 3.3 percent after ad-
justment for inflation. The depar-
tment's prediction is based on a
pessimistic economic outlook.
An undergraduate entering the
working world with a degree in
engineering - of any discipline - will
have the least trouble finding a job
and will be offered the highest star-
ting salary.
Young petroleum engineers
(chemical engineers with a
background in geology at the Univer-
sity) were offered the highest salary
- $30,996 - during the last half of
1984 and the first half of this year, ac-
cording to the College Placement
Council, a nationwide organization in
Bethlehem, Pa. that compiles infor-
mation about careers for college
graduates.
Chemical engineers ranked second,
followed by nuclear and electrical
engineering in third, according to the
council's survey of 54 colleges across
the country, other engineering degree
holders filled the next seven highest
rankings on its salary scale for un-
dergraduates. (See chart below.)
"Without a doubt, in our
technological society, engineering
degrees will always be in high
demand," said Judith Kayser, the
council's manager of statistical ser-
vices.
For students with master's
degrees, engineers held five of the top
ten salary positions. Electrical
engineering ranked first, followed by
mechanical and chemical
engineering. Computer science
ranked fourth.
Students with a technical un-
dergraduate degree who went on to
receive an MBA ranked seventh in the
council's survey of graduate students.
But MBA recipients with a non-
technical background ranked -only

tenth.
Victor Lindquist, director of job
placement at Northwestern Univer-
sity, added that the demand for com-
puter scientists and electrical
engineers specializing in computer
design "will not abate in the future."
But computer science majors, who
for the past few years have enjoyed
abundant job offers and top starting
salaries, did only marginally better
than did their predecessors in 1984.
Salary offers increased by just 1.8
percent in 1985, according to the
College Placement Council.
The hiring is only temporarily
stalled by economic downturn and the
computer science industry will boun-
ce back, said Rhea Nagle, an infor-
mation coordinator for the council.
In contrast to computer science
graduates, liberal arts majors
became more attractive to employers
last year. The council found that
liberal arts majors enjoyed four to
seven percent increases in job and
pay offers over last year - giving
them the highest improvement rate of
any undergraduate major.
Nagle pointed out, however, that
the figure is an average. Some
disciplines within the liberal arts un-
brella actually experienced a decline.
Humanities majors, for instance,

were offered salaries 1.1 percent
lower than their counterparts in 1984.
Social science degree holders, on the
other hand, watched their salary of-
fers jump 6.4 percent between 1984
and '85.
"There is a demand for LSA grads,
as there is tremendous growth in
small businesses... (liberal arts
graduates) are a real bargain to em-
ployers," said Lindquist.
"More and more, employers are
telling us the liberal arts graduates
are able to see the bigtpicture.
Someone with a more technical
degree may focus on solving the im-
mediate problem and not see the big
picture," added Kayser.
In terms of geography, your income
will go further in the Southeast and in
Texas than in the Northeast.
For example, in 1982 it cost a family
of four $42,736 to live "well" in New
York City, compared to $29,629 for the
same family in Atlanta, according to
the U.S. Labor Department of Com-
merce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Living "Well," the Bureau said, con-
stitutes owning two cars, buying new
clothes and furniture, and having ex-
tra money for entertainment, travel,
and education. In addition, such a
family would possess household ap-
pliances, their own home, and an in-
surance plan.

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18 Weekend/Friday, October 25, 1985

Weekend/

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