Courtesy of Bowie State University
Over 20 local and national print and broadcast journalists, program directors, radio hosts and others who work in the media provided communications students with insights into the wide range of professional opportunities during the annual Media Day, hosted by the BSU Communications Department.
More than 200 students attending the event on Oct. 24, heard strategies for building successful careers. They were able to network with potential employers across a broad spectrum of organizations and corporations and learn more about the industry.
“We live in an information age with more ways than ever to find and consume data,” said Dr. Otis Thomas, chair of the communications department. “Strong effective communications skills are invaluable in any industry and a degree in journalism or public relations can open doors to careers in a wide range of fields. The ability to communicate effectively will benefit students in any field.”
Deborah Berry, an award-winning national correspondent for USA Today, began her career reporting for a newspaper in Easton, Maryland over 30 years ago. She says it’s all about managing yourself and not being afraid to ask for help.
“Be willing to go to a smaller market and while you’re there, maximize your skills,” she said. “Smaller markets need you and you need them. Just be your authentic self and never lose track of who you are.”
The numerous jobs available for individuals to work in the communications industry range from reporter/anchors, producers, camera operators, editors, public relations representatives, social media managers and other areas. Regardless of the job title, all of the panelists agreed that writing is the key and foundation to landing a job in the business. But interaction with others is also very important.
“Your relationship is your currency,” said JaQuisha Hudson, an account director at Ogilvy Public Relations. “Always treat people right. Sometimes people come into a workplace and establish a relationship with the general manager of a television station. Have a relationship and speak with that individual even if it doesn’t matter because when you need something, the person will be there for you.”
“This was a great opportunity for me to network and speak directly with communications experts who have been working in the business for decades,” said Kevea McCray, a senior broadcast journalism major from Norfolk, Virginia. “Hearing the speakers’ provide their unique perspective and guidance was extremely important for BSU journalism majors, in addition to networking with each other and the professionals on the panels.”
“Do your homework and know the subject matter,” said DC News Now anchor Chris Flanagan. “If you are going to work as a reporter, you must be well read, know current events and be able to hold a politician or another public official accountable if the truth is not told.”
Most of the panelists encouraged students to be very careful pertaining to the posts they place on social media warning those in the audience that an unprofessional or distasteful post on Instagram or another platform could be career damaging. DJ Quicksilva, host of The Quicksilva Morning Show offered this advice.
“Many times it is not the message but the messenger that makes the difference,” he said. “If you’re not on social media, make sure the people you are working with are social media influencers. In today’s world they are very important in the business mix.”