Paul BischoffJuly 30, 2019
Paul is the editor of Comparitech.com and former China editor at Tech in Asia. These days he specializes in online privacy, cybersecurity, fraud and scams, web censorship, and net neutrality. Since graduating from Truman he has lived in eight countries and travelled to more than two dozen. He has worked remotely from home for the past six years and plans to never have an office job again. He also moonlights as a solo video game developer and is wrapping up his first title, Ambidangerous.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in 2012 with a concentration in Journalism.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I worked at News 36 (now TMN-TV), eventually working my way up to Executive Producer. I was also a member of the Truman Rock Climbing Club and University Swingers dance group.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
Nope. I went to China instead.
What was your first job after graduation?
I worked in Beijing at China’s state-run news agency and propaganda mouthpiece, Xinhua, as a copy editor and TV anchor.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
Currently I’m the editor of Comparitech.com and I make video games on the side.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
The strong writing, persuasion, and journalistic skills I learned while getting my degree have been the foundation of my career since graduation.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
I overhauled our TV news station from its then-barely functioning state into a regular once-per week live broadcast. I’d like to think that my efforts gave other students a place to hone their skills and create reels for their future careers. (Editor’s note: They did.)
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
You can be a big fish in a small pond.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Don’t just get the degree. Get real industry experience by joining the Index, News 36, or KTRM. Get an internship or two. Build a portfolio. Experience matters more than grades.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Learn basic search engine optimization (SEO). A lot of online publishers, where you’ll likely start out working, value this skill.
Expertise in a subject outside of your degree will also help you get a foot in the door. For me, that’s technology and the internet.
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
SEO: How to write for Google – basically a class on how to game Google search results so your articles and content appear at the top.
Another idea: Alternative business models to advertising for news media
Protecting sources: How to communicate privately and/or anonymously over the internet as a journalist.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
Journalism is one of the fastest changing fields in the world right now because of the internet. Competition, reporting practices, business models, dissemination and discovery, hiring, security, audience interaction, and trust models are all evolving. Your professors are old and can teach you the fundamentals, but being a journalist today means being able to quickly adapt. Be nimble.
If you would like to learn more of Paul’s story, you can follow him on Twitter.