Letter to Cecil Brown
February 24, 1983
Mr. Cecil Brown
10450 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Dear Mr. Brown:
I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Mike Kirsch and I am a sophmore majoring in broadcasting at Cal Poly Pomona. I am currently writing for the university newspaper and I recently wrote a profile on Dr. John Moore. In my interview with Dr. Moore, I found that he had worked with you in the past and he mentioned that you had been a correspondent for CBS.
Mr. Brown, I am pursuing a career in television as a news broadcaster or correspondent. What I would like to ask of you is for some advise, based on your passed experiences, that would guide me in the right direction. Could you please send me some tips and suggestions for starting off in this field. I would very much appreciate anykind of a guideline which, for example, would list criteria or goals that should be achieved by an upcoming television or radio newsman or correspondent.
Thank you very much.
PS - I have included, in this letter, two postage stamps for your envelope. Thanks again.
Letter from Cecil Brown
March 3, 1983
Dear Mike Kirsch:
There is one thing you must do first if you aim for a career in journalism, print or electronic. Be sure that every word in a letter is spelled correctly. Your letter contained errors.
The next step is for you to take a wide variety of courses. These, should range from history and political science to economics and philosophy. You need to know something about almost everything, and be receptive to such information as you pursue your job.
The technical aspects of reporting, writing or voicing are easily learned, so the major effort should be on learning about what goes on in our world and our society. I cannot minimize the rich background you need to have to achieve any kind of reasonable success in the news business. The competition is ferocious and you must be prepared to battle your way, to demonstrate that you can cut the mustard.
In addition, read and read and read, not just your textbooks but also newspapers and Time and Newsweek, etc., etc. Start working hard now, while you are in school, because you will have to work hard when you get out. Otherwise, you will fall by the wayside.
When you are ready to take on the world, stay away from the big cities, the big stations, the big networks. Go to a small town station, anywhere you can get your foot in the door. Take any kind of a job. Start getting experience on a small station. The larger stations don't want to be a training ground. They want to hire somebody who is trained, or partially trained. Don't try to get a job on a major station in a large city. They won t take you without experience, so get it on a small station, anywhere in the nation.
Always remember that journalism is not just a job, it is also a public service. You have an enormous responsibility in communicating to the public. Thus, aside from earning a living, you have the high duty of serving the public.
You have chosen to write me, but you did not do your homework. You should have researched my background, in books in the library, in Who's Who, etc. When you take on an assignment, be prepared. Good luck to you.