10 Questions with Jacobin's Alex Press
If there’s one thing Jacobin staffer and Guild member Alex Press is, she’s a socialist. If there’s a second thing, she’s a unionist. Currently working on her PhD in sociology from Northeastern University, this Pittsburgh native is an activist, writer and passionate advocate for collective action. After all, if Press wasn't working in the media industry, she’d be doing political organizing.
Get to know Press better through our 10 Question Series:
1. If you weren't working in journalism, what would you be doing?
2. Who's your favorite journalist or writer - living or dead?
Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the first writers I loved as a teenager who was getting interested in writing, so he occupies a special place in my heart.
3. What could the news business use more of?
Writers from a working-class background. The fact that the heights of the industry are filled with people who went to the same schools and whose parents worked in media or similar industries does a disservice to the public: It influences what stories are prioritized and what perspectives gain legitimacy. Also, more unions, duh.
4. Less of?
The profit motive. So many publications are barely scraping by, and the move to rely on whatever gets advertising revenue — video over long-form writing, hot takes over investigative journalism, clickbait over nuance — makes for a lot of boring, safe and meaningless media.
5. Name a piece of journalism that moved you most profoundly.
The reporting on Harvey Weinstein by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey at the New York Times and Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker.
6. What makes you hopeful about the future of journalism?
The rise of unions!
7. What worries you?
The difficulty left-wing publications have staying afloat.
8. When you're not working, what occupies your time?
Reading, talking politics with friends.
9. Why is being in the Guild better than not being in the Guild?
The Guild’s a structure connected to my work, but not aligned with the interests of my employer, which means I know they have my back. Unions are just the word we use to describe the power that comes from workers acting collectively, and that power is multiplied way beyond what my small shop could achieve because we’re connected to all the other publications represented by the Guild. And that’s a hell of a lot better than trying to navigate this industry on my own!
10. If you could give someone starting out in journalism one piece of advice what would it be? Don’t worry about whether you measure up to anyone else in the field, whether that’s about their degrees, social background, or anything else: Just write.
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