By Emilee Wentland
Leader-Telegram reporter and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alum Julian Emerson gave me some insight on being a journalist in today’s world.
Julian Emerson has worked at the Leader-Telegram in Eau Claire for 21 years, including the two-and-a-half years he spent freelance writing. He began his full time job with the Leader-Telegram in 1997.
Emerson has many responsibilities at the Leader-Telegram. He spends his workdays doing a variety of things, including covering the city government beat each week.
He used to be the assistant local news editor, but due to layoffs in February, he is back to being a reporter.
“I wasn’t happy with (being a reporter again) at the time, because I feel like (I’m) going backwards. I’ve already done this,” Emerson said.
He said he likes being a reporter because he doesn’t have to be in an office all day and he’s good at writing stories.
While Emerson may no longer be labeled an editor, he still does some editing. For example, he compiles information for, edits and lays out the “Getting Out” and “On Campus” sections for the Leader-Telegram.
“Any given day, it could be something different,” said Emerson, who has written on a variety of topics during his time as a reporter.
Emerson said one of the hardest parts of being a journalist is the process of finding where you need to be.
He spent a while trying to find his place in journalism. Emerson’s first two years as a college student were spent at Carroll University before he transferred to and graduated from the U W-Eau Claire.
After graduating from college, Emerson worked at a weekly newspaper, but after less than a year, he quit. He then spent some time working at the Chippewa Herald, which was followed by two-and-a-half years of freelance writing for a variety of newspapers. After that, he was hired to work full time at the Leader-Telegram.
Emerson told me about the financial hardships of the newspaper industry, but he said that there are still things we, as journalists, can do. There is just as much—if not more—need for journalism right now than ever, he said.
The problem isn’t that people don’t want news anymore. He said that the issue is that, because of the Internet, the consumers don’t want to pay for the news that they’re receiving.
I have never met someone as passionate as Julian Emerson about making sure journalism isn’t a dying industry. He told me that as long as I work hard at becoming a great writer, I could succeed as a journalist. He also said that I should make sure to continue working for The Spectator and work on finding ways to make it profitable again.
Nowadays, journalists have a lot more to do and there are a lot more steps to do it. Because of that, it’s become harder and harder to put a paper out every day, Emerson said.