Ask the Coach

Just another Freedom Forum Diversity Institute weblog

Finding a Mentor



Dear Coach,

There’s a great reporter in my newsroom whose work I really respect. However, I haven’t developed a relationship with him. He’s fairly busy and somewhat serious, and we have barely spoken two words to one another. I would like to shadow him and seek advice. How can I approach him and build rapport? –Seeking a Mentor

Dear Seeking,

Start from the beginning, with work of his that you admire. Read it carefully. Write a short e-mail about a particularly good story, saying what you liked about it. Say you would like to learn to do stories like that. Ask a brief practical question about the work. (For example, how did the reporter get such a great quote?) Don’t ask for a big time commitment at the start. Just ask the reporter a few simple questions. See what happens. It’s a rare person, no matter how busy, who wouldn’t be flattered and willing to help.

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