Castleton University alumnus Austin Crosier virtually stopped by Professor David Blow’s Into to Journalism class via Zoom on March 5, fielding questions from students and aspiring journalists, and giving insight on what to expect after college.
Crosier, who graduated last May, now writes for the Granville Sentinel, a popular starting spot for Castleton graduates in the journalism field that has provided jobs for Spartans for decades. He also manages social media for the paper, and designs pages with the Adobe Indesign program.
“I’m just really having a blast doing this,” Crosier told the class, appearing on the Zoom screen wearing a dress shirt, tie and blazer, which he said was part of his everyday professional image. “I always dress professional – shirt and tie every time I go to a meeting or come up to the office. A lot of people think I am a little too serious sometimes.”
That discussion on attire was part of the first topic Crosier covered – being taken seriously and being respected as a rookie in the professional journalism world. Crosier said he has been brushed off by interview subjects due to his age and inexperience, and he recommended future journalists do everything possible to establish trust and credibility early on.
Crosier was a football player at Castleton, and his love of sports led to his participation in the Castleton Spartan student newspaper as a sports reporter, and he helped design the paper too.
To the delight of many students, Crosier reflected on how that experience at Castleton as a journalism student and campus journalist has been invaluable so far.
“Senior year spring semester came in handy, coming in on Sunday mornings to help design the paper,” he said. “If I hadn’t had that little bit of experience, I would have come in and been pretty clueless as to what to do for design.”
Crosier said that the COVID-19 pandemic played a large role in his current path as well. Crosier did not write a non-sports story with the Spartan until the virus kept the sports equipment in the shadows last March. Once he branched out of football and sports, he quickly became enamored with feature writing, and other types of stories, and his passion and commitment were evident, according to Blow, advisor of the paper.
“Austin was a bit of a late bloomer as far as really getting serious about wanting to do this, but when he did, he started writing some really good narrative feature stories. I think he really found a voice,” Blow said.
Crosier also warned students of the COVID job market, and just how difficult it was for him to find a professional home.
“Most jobs require you to know somebody, and making connections,” he said.
Crosier said he applied for 75 different positions after he graduated, and only received return correspondence from five.
“Having Dave [Blow], who had previous experience with the Sentinel, and a family friend of mine who lives in Granville, put in a good word for me helped … It’s a hard process, being persistent is what matters.”
Crosier has already tackled some serious stories as a member of the Granville Sentinel newsroom, like the controversial Slate Ridge shooting range and the Barstool small business relief fund. He also covers the law enforcement beat in Granville.
As for advice for current journalism students?
“Keep your morals close to your heart and just pursue what makes you happy,” he said.