By Tristan Leach
With an infectious smile and a twinkle in his eye, it is hard not to feel joy when someone sees Jeremy Hester. The recent Rider graduate’s life was changed overnight thanks to a helpful professor, hard work and plenty of skill. All of this culminated into a job opportunity that many journalists dream of, a job at one of the world’s most renowned newspapers.
Before Hester attended Rider, he was at Albright College in Pennsylvania. He was majoring in English, but found that he was not enjoying the experience of college the way his peers were. At the end of his freshman year Hester transferred to Rider where many career oppurtunites would find him.
“I needed more credits, I was just an English major and I had basically finished all my requirements […] and I saw journalism and I thought that’d be cool and I chose a journalism minor,” said Hester.
Hester would meet journalism professor Jackie Incollingo in her Intro to News Writing class. Incollingo offered Hester a chance to be a copyeditor for The Rider News and he jumped at the opportunity.
“She asked at the end of spring semester 2021 if I wanted to join The Rider News for fall of 2021,” said Hester, “ So I applied, there was a little test, and [ former executive editor] Sarah (Siock) said, ‘we’d love to have you,’ and then I was in The Rider News.”
From there, Hester started his job at the copy desk. Every Monday and Tuesday night Hester and his fellow copy editors got to work on fine tuning and fact checking the stories that would run in the paper that Wednesday.
Quickly it became very apparent that Hester was meant for the job. He quickly adapted to the late nights of the section editors, staying late to support his colleagues and friends. Hester was always there to give a fellow editor a word of encouragement or a friendly hug when it was needed.
It soon became clear to others on campus that Hester had a talent for copy editing and writing. Last year, Hester took a copy editing class taught by Charles Bausman, an adjunct professor of journalism. Hester excelled in the class and Bausman quickly discovered his skills.
“I give a college level grammar, spelling, punctuation test week two of the semester to try to get a sense of how much the students know and don’t know. Jeremy got the highest score that anyone has ever had on this test. In seven years of teaching this class no one has ever come close to 15 points of Jeremy’s score,” said Bausman.
Skills like this gave Hester an edge when looking for internships this past summer. Hester was accepted to the Dow Jones News Fund, which initially got him to The Washington Post.
“That program (the Dow Jones News Fund), you apply and then they give you training for a little bit and then they send you to a paper. So I got sent to The Post,” said Hester.
Hester received training from other staff members, and began his paid summer internship in Washington D.C. Hester and three other interns worked all summer, working with colleagues with vast experience in the field. At the end of the summer, he and the three other interns were all offered a job.
Hester now has the job title of multiplatform editor for The Washington Post. In a world where copy editing is being cut by some newspapers to save money, papers like the one Hester works at are thriving. This new money saving tactic is causing once serious newspapers, such as The New York Times, to have minor and major errors run everyday. Both Hester and Bausman brought up this idea and how both find the move to be a mistake.
“It seems counterintuitive in this industry, in newspapers, because now it is suffering or not doing so well as it did. You’d think that you would want to put out the best product you could, not a product that could be potentially marked with errors,” said Bausman.
Hester and Bausman brought up the Twitter account @nyttypos, or Typos of the New York Times, run by a lawyer that likes to correct the paper.
For now, Hester is enjoying his new job and perfecting his craft. The 22 -year -old is taking everyday one step at a time and proving to everyone just how valuable a little bit of risk can be.
“[Journalism] is a really great field. You get to learn about everything, said Hester, […] there are people all over the world doing really interesting stuff. You get to really learn and enough different stuff.”