WEST ORANGE, NJ — Journalism classes at West Orange High School (WOHS) enjoyed a special opportunity to be included in a seminar headlined by the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Karen Pensiero, who covered a range of conversation topics from her rural roots in the Midwest to working her way up in the Big Apple.
Pensiero grew up in Missouri with exposure to news, as her parents kept three local newspaper subscriptions active throughout her youth. Heading into her teen years, she was involved with the high school newspaper, earning the role of co-editor in chief.
Pensiero noted that the position on her high school paper fueled her passion even more—a drive that has stuck with her throughout her career. She credited her journalism teacher as an important figure who was knowledgeable in the craft, and Pensiero took that knowledge with her to the University of Missouri.
Looking to pursue a career in journalism, she sought an internship at the WSJ. She was as hands-on as possible during her internship rather than a “coffee-run person," she said. As a result, Pensiero soon received a full-time gig in New York City.
“The way you get hired in journalism is how you get hired anywhere else,” she said. “The most important aspect of keeping a job is to be hard-working. Show up earlier than everyone and leave later than everyone else.”
Pensiero said that young readers are showing an interest in news, and like other news platforms, the WSJ is attempting to reel in this key demographic by utilizing social media. She believes young people will be increasingly willing to pay for a trusted news source, as they do with other services, such as Netflix and Spotify.
The online paper has its own challenges, according to Pensiero. Popular online user hours limit the paper with a small window of opportunity to publish the major stories of the day with the greatest impact.
Pensiero works with employees to help ensure articles are published to accommodate those online visitors. She takes her job seriously and executes orders passionately.
“Journalism is essential, because it helps shine light on issues that may not be heard of until now,” she said. “It is a voice for the oppressed and puts the people in power in question.”
Matt Camacho is copy editor for The Pioneer, the West Orange High School Newspaper, and a member of the Mountaineer Media Team.