Dual Degree Leads Sacramentan To Shine As A Business Journalist

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

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With the backing of a business degree, the opportunities are endless to excel, especially in Sacramento. For one particular local, intellectual curiosity served her well. In high school, it drove Stephanie Flores to enroll at American River College. When she reached California Poly San Luis Obispo, she needed just two years to complete an accounting degree.

(Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Flores)

(Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Flores)

But even that demanding career couldn’t settle her intellectual drive, and back to the ARC catalog she went. Flores chose writing; in particular a news writing and reporting course, the professor, himself a veteran newsman, suggested she aim for a master’s degree rather than a second bachelor’s degree.

That advice led her to Missouri School of Journalism to study magazine journalism. Master’s degree in hand, Flores returned to Sacramento and earned acclaim as a freelancer before taking over as managing editor of Comstock’s Business magazine. She simultaneously taught mass communication courses at ARC, helping train future generations of journalists at the campus newspaper, The Current. She stepped away to teach English to business students at Shenyang University and permanently relocated to New Zealand. She now works as an internal communications manager for a major insurance company.

How do you think your combination of educational background framed your career decisions?

“After I left accounting, I took a hard look at what I WANTED to be doing in life, and I chose writing. As we all know, the world of journalism isn’t offering the best opportunity for job prospects in the digital age. However, many writers don’t understand numbers and many accountants don’t understand writing. I found a niche in business journalism. Business and medical writers are typically paid more than the so-called “fun stuff” like food writers or narrative magazine journalists.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring students? 

“For aspiring accountants, ask yourself what your motivation is. If you aren’t in it for the right reasons, you will never get past the CPA exam. For aspiring business journalists, you have to set yourself apart from the rest. One of my heroes is Barney Kilgore. If you don’t know who he is, don’t be a business journalist.  He redefined business journalism from updates on stock exchange prices to encompass ‘anything about earning a living.’ People think business journalism has to be boring in order to be credible. That’s just not the way people seek, consume and retain information in today’s information age.”

Carol Terracina-Hartman is a freelance writer based in Sacramento. She covers all things environment. In 2012, she received the Outstanding Service Award from the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. See her work at Examiner.com.

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