By Liz Friden
Joseph Price, a 2004 Catholic University graduate, spoke to students this week about his career as a product manager at The Washington Post and how his time at Catholic helped him figure out his career path. The remarks, to English majors Monday evening, discussed future career options and the job market.
“The ability to communicate is essential,” he said. “Being able to communicate in a written manner is even more of a premium skillset.”
Price graduated Catholic in 2004 with a major in English. During his time here, he founded CRUX literary magazine. He also wrote a play that was performed in the basement of Hartke while he was here. Now, he works for The Post as a product manager delivering stories to our everyday devices. In his free time, he dabbles in storytelling. He turns his stories into performances working at Story District, a nonprofit that helps get people up on stage in front of audiences to tell true personal stories from their lives. He has written and performed two one man shows, and a third is on its way. The third show is about his relationship with alcohol, and he will be performing it as a bartender.
After graduating Catholic, Price wanted to be a journalist. This worked out for about a year, and then he soon became broke as a freelance journalist. He then became a waiter and a bartender while he was figuring out his next move. It was in this time he got a clear focus on how he could combine his love for storytelling and knowledge of technology into a career.
“I think that one of the skill sets that will benefit you going out into the world is your ability to focus,” Price said. “It feels like the world, technology, and all the systems that surround us are increasingly hostile to letting you focus.”
After spending time at a few places, his work was eventually featured at National Public Radio (NPR). He was the first person to combine a live audience data via Facebook and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. It was for one of his plays, e-Geaux (beta). He also worked for the agencies Threespot and Huge, whose clients included the Brookings Institution, American Humane Society, Al-Jazeera America, and Time Warner Cable.
Price explained his job saying, “That means it’s my job to work with teams that build technology and figure out how we distribute journalism through products like podcasts as well as new platforms like Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Alexa.”
He started telling stories at Catholic, and even produced his own play. This hobby has continued to benefit him. Price admitted that performing at Story District has really been what has kept him in D.C. He started in 2008 and has since told over 30 stories on Story District stages. He has been teaching with the program since 2010.
Price is fascinated with how young people get their news in this ever changing world where stories are shared on new platforms every day. He loves storytelling and would like to continue for young people to do the same. He is an artist, a writer, a storyteller, finding new mediums and easy way to share not only his stories, but stories for the Washington Post.
“I would encourage everyone to get as much technology competency as possible,”Price said. “Even doing a little bit of coding, understanding a little bit of it will differentiate you from the competition.”
The talk was part of the English Post-Graduate Event Series, a monthly event series that aims to introduce English majors to graduates of the program who can provide them with advice and encouragement as they think about the job market. Seniors like Iain Higgins found Price’s thoughts helpful and motivating.
“He emphasized that English majors are valued for their creative thinking, and encouraged us to look at many different fields where we could apply our skills after graduation,” Higgins said.