Journalist

Matt Gurney, an editor and journalist for the National Post, let me catch a glimpse of what he does in a day. Matt starts working very early and doesn’t have a typical newspaper journalist career since most of his work is online at fullcomment.ca. However, since he works online and writes editorials, his work does follow him home and he checks the news every 20-30 minutes! Traditional newspaper reporters may only have to write two articles per week; however, since Matt works for fullcomment.ca, which is a constituent blog of the National Post, he has to post articles every day since blogging requires fresh content. Each day, he wakes up not saying, “What should I write about this week?” but instead saying, “What should I write this morning, afternoon, and evening?” That’s not an easy task. However, Matt has complete autonomy over what he writes about and simply writes about what interests him.

Matt writes opinionated articles so all the work is done in his head, as opposed to that of an investigative reporter who travels and interviews. This also means that he needs to balance his time between reading the news and doing research with writing. As he says, you need good inputs to get great outputs. This can be a challenge, but over the years he has figured it out. As if the research and writing weren’t enough, Matt also responds to reader comments on the blog and tweets from his Twitter account. Like all jobs I’ve seen, some days are harder than others, and the National Post has a great support team at their office. All the writers in their respective sections help each other out, which makes writing original content and strong, articulate arguments a lot easier. 

I had a great time learning about the world of a journalist with Matt Gurney. The National Post is a cool office, with a great cafeteria, and a huge floor where all the reporters from all the sections have desks. The sports section has a lot of televisions and sports jerseys. Right across from them is the arts and life section where I think I saw a guy making a crossword (his desk was cluttered with arcane books and cut-out newspapers), and the graphic artists were cool to watch. Overall, to be a successful journalist you really have to enjoy writing and standing on a soapbox. 

Cool Fact: Matt remembers reading the first edition of the National Post when he was 15 and now he works there!  

A Typical Day

Matt Gurney works for the comment section in the National Post. He has different deadlines than the rest of the newspaper, but still writes a few articles per day, researches, and edits other writers’ articles on a daily basis.

Top 3 Perks

1) You get to select whatever you want to write about 

2) Meet interesting people and work with great co-workers 

3) On the radio nearly every day 

 

Job Culture

Lots of writing, indoors, on the phone or radio, drawing conclusions, conducting research, using computers, bouncing ideas off co-workers, corresponding with readers.

Requirements

- It varies for everybody, but a lot of people go to journalism school. 

 - Matt did two degrees in history, began freelancing, started writing online, and then started working for the National Post. 

- To be successful you have to be a good writer, which Matt believes is an art not a skill (you either have it or you don’t). 

Skills Needed

Writing, analytical, communication, opinionated, time management, motivation, computer skills, an understanding of social media, research skills.


The Field

- The number of jobs for journalists is shrinking. 

 - The industry has changed: a lot of readers of Matt’s articles don’t read them on fullcomment.ca—instead the articles get circulated all around the Web (those views don’t tally up for the National Post hit count—they don’t make money from it).