Andy Gammill is making his move

Dateline: Mon 12 Jul 2010

The Indianpolis Star's education reporter Andy Gammill says it is now official: Aug. 4 will be his last day on the beat, and he is going to law school at Ohio State University in the fall.

Here are some reflections on his decision to leave the newspaper industry and pursue a law career:

"It has been a hard decision to leave journalism. I still love the work, but my strong gut feeling is that journalism is going to be a not-very-fun place to be for quite a while before it gets better. My guess is that fewer people are going to be doing more work, and the current job market leaves much more limited opportunities for advancement than when I started a few years ago. At the same time as I was sorting through all that, I worked on several projects that were very legalistic. I found them to be among my favorite recent projects. I think I will find being a lawyer just as exciting and intellectually challenging as I found journalism. I have had tons of fun as a journalist, gotten to meet many incredible people and see many incredible things, and I wouldn't give that up for anything but it's time to move on to another adventure.

"I do have a few areas of practice that I'm interested in preliminarily. But they say most people who go into law school wanting to practice a certain kind of law come out interested in a different practice area, so I'm keeping my options open."

As to his background, he graduated from Indiana University in 2001 and worked for two years at The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.

"I came to The Star in November 2003 as the south bureau government reporter. I then covered education (and some government) in the north bureau for two years. I have covered education downtown since 2006, including IPS, state education issues and education trends."

Good luck to Andy.

 

Comments

Christopher Lloyd [unverified] said:

Best of luck to a solid reporter, and a good guy.

2010-07-12 22:08:51

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

A good guy, for sure.

I'm still troubled by that image of ratting out the video-shooters at a Eugene White meeting. Not quite sure what that was all about.

But no doubt--we've lost another good one. I have this impression that he wrote more than was printed...he was prolific.



2010-07-13 07:22:51

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Law School? OSU has a good one, but he might just be trading one poorly paid job for another.

Unless, of course, he plans to enter politics? lol

2010-07-13 09:27:21

Rose [unverified] said:

I'm pasting links to a couple blogs that I think are pretty good reads for those consindering law school:

http://www.firsttiertoilet.blogspot.com/
http://butidideverythingrightorsoithought.blogspot.com/

2010-07-13 11:03:32

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I just hope The Star will become more aggressive in examining questionable practices/questionable uses of funding in many school district administrative offices.

The video episode TTT mentioned certainly raised questions about journalistic ethics relating to becoming too cozy with news sources.

I do wish this particular young man success in all of his future endeavors.

2010-07-13 12:49:36

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

To be fair, I've observed Andy since he started in education reporting--it's a tough job, and superintendents lie through their teeth for breakfast. In case one of their ranks strays off the reservation, the metro-area supers meet regularly to write their scripts and compare notes.

They live in a particularly unchallenged world. Their boards are lapdogs.

If a reporter starts asking too many tough questions, (s)he gets shut off. And then (s)he can't do his/her job very well. It's a tough balancing act.

Andy did it real well, or so I thought--that little video incident notwithstanding.

My take on his future: he'd be a great teacher...he'll be a frustrated lawyer, unless he specialize sin something that gives him tremendous satisfaction. He's not about the money.

2010-07-13 15:51:23

hendy [Member] said:

Another friend of mine made the leap from journalism to law, and has done very well. The fact that he had tenacity and a conscience before going into law school helped.

2010-07-13 17:30:00

howard smulevitz [unverified] said:

It's already advertised. Just go to Poynter Forums, ad is atop the left side column.

2010-07-13 20:35:52

howard smulevitz [unverified] said:

Sorry, make that the right side

2010-07-13 20:51:44

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

TTT - You make a very valid point about beat reporters being "shut out" if they start asking too many questions, etc.

I had to deal with this issue myself during my newspaper days.

I haven't heard/read much discourse about this nuts-and-bolts problem in journalism.

We've seen it on a much-larger scale in how the major TV networks have sucked up to the military/politicians during our most recent wars to gain better access.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this issue and how to deal with it without compromising journalist ethics?

2010-07-14 15:03:22

BattleCreekBattleCat [unverified] said:

I am considering applying for the job. I am currently a K-12 education reporter at a smaller (but not that much smaller) newspaper. I have never worked at a Gannett newspaper. Despite the layoffs, Indy seems like a good place to work. Thoughts?

2010-07-15 00:54:36

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Whitebeard: if you're on a reportorial beat, and the sources shut you out...if the sources are publicly-paid, make noise with your readers. You really don't have any other options.

I'm not sure if I have faith in readers any more, but there should be enough readers to smoke out the nonsense.


In every bureaucracy, there are folks who will talk. On or off the record. Even IPS. Gene White is a bully, and has to have things his way. He has sharp elbows under the basket. A little digging is all it would take...there are knives out there for him. Hopefully, good reporters can sort out the daggers from the rela news.

BattleCreek: run. Fast. The other way.

2010-07-15 08:22:05

Paul K. Ogden [unverified] said:

I'm with Varan, does Andy Gammill have any idea how bad salaries and job opportunities in the legal profession? He's most likely going to come out of law school and if he can find a job, it will be for a LOWER salary than he made at the Star and with zero benefits.

In 23 years of being an attorney, starting salaries for attorneys haven't changed. If he can get a job, he might get $30K to $35K to start. A lot of people I know are commission only...which means they won't even make $30K.

I'm no fan of Gammill after he pulled that IPS stunt, but I wouldn't wish this career move on anyone at this point. I would encourage him to talk to people in the profession before he amasses six figure student loan debt he will never pay back.

Paul K. Ogden
Attorney at Law
IU School of Law Class of 1987

2010-07-15 19:24:03

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