In midst of covering the attack on the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday, Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal Foreign Correspondent stationed in Cairo, found time to Skype with the students of SPJ.
Although Bradley’s undergraduate degree from Duke University did not include a major in journalism, he knew that he had his heart set on travelling. He even applied to the CIA for a chance to go abroad. Instead, he ended up at an overseas newspaper that allowed him to venture to Cairo as a Wall Street Journal correspondent.
About ten minutes into the meeting, Bradley’s editor called and the Skype conversation was put on pause. Students waited patiently to see if he would return to speak with them.
A few moments later, SPJ got back online with him and he explained to students that the editing process at WSJ is “one of the most editor heavy newspapers in the country” and “that it could take hours just to get through the process.”
Bradley said he felt bad about the interruption. But Jimmy Roller, a junior and SPJ board member, was leading the meeting and described it as “kind of cool” that students got to see into the everyday life of a professional journalist.
After the break, Bradley continued to speak to students about his time in Cairo. He described his time in Cairo as “gratifying” and recommends not only foreign corresponding, but also travelling, to anyone who is even the least bit interested.
Bahi Shoukry, a graduate student originally from Cairo, is studying communication management in Leipzig, Germany. Shoukry attended the meeting and agreed with Bradley’s advice.
“I like the idea of meeting him… and also getting in contact with a journalist abroad to give students insight into studying abroad,” Shoukry said.
Bradley supported his advice by saying that it’s not easy to work your way up from smaller news organizations like it was in the past.
“You could work your way up twenty years ago, but that past doesn’t really exist anymore,” Bradley said.
When asked what last words he wanted to leave the students with, Bradley said, “If you want to go into foreign corresponding, just go! If you spend too much time thinking about how you’re going to go, you’ll never actually go.”