Meet Melissa Krikke.
Melissa Krikke is a third-year Journalism student at Humber College – Lakeshore and is currently working as the Managing Editor for daily newsletter Pressed News. Melissa was kind enough to sit down with IGNITE and discuss everything from Pressed, to the journalism industry, to her future ambitions.
How did you get your start with Pressed News?
Well I came on board after meeting for a cup of coffee with the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jacqueline. I saw that she had a really great vision of where she wanted to take the publication and one day she asked me to become her partner, so of course I accepted.
How would you describe Pressed News?
Pressed is a daily newsletter that comes to your email inbox. We talk about the news using real words, not pretentious news jargon. We don’t expect people to have advanced understandings of topics. Often the news can talk about issues expecting that you already know a lot about them. So we try and package topics in around 150 words. Our e-newsletter presents the top 5 news topics of the day, and we also cover pop culture, so if a new song from a big artist comes out we’ll tell you about it. We also have a “Good News” section, because often the news can be upsetting covering wars, murders etc., so in the good news section we feature a person or organization that’s doing really great charity work or something similar.
What news publications do you like, or who do you like to emulate?
I like the Toronto Star, they do a really good job of explaining hard issues. In general, the way that we try and write is how we would hold a conversation. We want to put on paper how we would explain a breaking news story verbally to one another. We try and do a lot of research on a topic and then try and explain it conversationally.
What makes a good news source?
In terms of Pressed, one thing that Jacqueline believes in is making the news accessible and understandable, especially with information travelling so quickly in this generation. A great news organization will explain why a military conflict in Gambia can affect you and not just outline events. Also, journalistic integrity is huge. You have to be able to back up your information by being able to show where it is coming from.
How do you manage balancing school work and your work at Pressed?
It’s a lot of work, but it’s super rewarding and it all works into each other. I’m currently in the Journalism program and I’m learning how to work for a company like Pressed and how to write stories for a specific purpose, so everything works together. In a lot of ways, I’m super grateful to be working while still learning more everyday.
With the industry’s focus shifting from print into digital media, how important is the role of social media and multimedia journalism?
It’s super important. Newspapers are trending down and a lot of people are trying to figure out how the industry can bounce back from that. We are constantly trying to evolve and manage where we want Pressed to go. Having a strong online and social media presence is definitely something we are working on, because the more communication you have with the audience the more you can learn about them and learn different ways to get it to them efficiently.
What are your goals for the future?
Well I recently finished an internship at the Canadian Press and while I was there I fell in love with photo-journalism so I’d like to advance my skills there. But I am also a huge fan of podcasts, so maybe doing some work with that. I don’t know if I have an end goal, just being able to adapt to an ever-changing media landscape. I just want to adapt and keep working in the world of journalism.
What advice would you have for a younger journalist or entrepreneur?
The biggest piece of advice that I’ve been given from my mentors that I would pass on to others would just be to try everything. Be willing to do anything even if you have reservations. Don’t turn down opportunities just because it isn’t exactly what you want to do, because you never know until you try. When I started working at Pressed, all I wanted to be doing was writing long-form pieces and I wanted to be a columnist at a newspaper, but that’s obviously not what Pressed is. I wasn’t 100% sure if it was right for me at the time and I didn’t know how it would pay off. But one of my favourite quotes is, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only make connections when looking back”. So I would just say take chances, try and make as many connections as possible and see where it goes.
What at Humber has helped you the most in your career?
It would totally be the faculty. I don’t know if there are any other schools where the faculty really go out of their way to help students find jobs. For me at least, I’ve had professors help set up connections and provide references. Our program coordinators really go out of their way to help get your foot in the door. We also are lucky enough to have a lot of guest speakers come visit us, and those have been incredibly helpful.
*Melissa Krikke has since left her position at Pressed as of April 5th, 2017.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity
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