Get Involved in Internship – A Student Perspective

~~ Guest post by Ashley-Marie Monica, Public Relations major and Lambda Pi Eta member ~~

“Get involved.” How many times do Rowan students hear this in one semester?

As a junior in the communication field, I’m aware of the importance in having a hands-on field experience. I also understand that joining organizations and seeking internships is time consuming and often stressful.

Last year, I wanted to apply for a fall 2011 internship; however, I felt discouraged. I was only going to be a junior while most people have internships during their senior year. I was nervous about everything: the application and interview process, my competition, and if I would have the time for schoolwork. I kept asking myself, “Do I know enough about public relations?” and “Have I taken enough classes in my field?” I wasn’t sure if I was ready to handle real-life responsibilities.

Despite my fears, in May of 2011, I applied for an internship with the Community Affairs Department at WTXF-FOX 29 Television Station in Philadelphia. During my interview with Ameena Ali, Human Resources Director at FOX, the fall 2011 intern position was offered to me!

Most sophomore and junior students are probably thinking, “Why should I do this now? I have my senior year to find an internship.” I believe the best way to prepare for a career is to put yourself in a professional environment. Getting experience early will give you more time to learn new skills and practice them before stepping into the real world.

My current internship with FOX 29 teaches me what to expect in a corporate setting. I’m gaining knowledge and experience I cannot find by sitting in a classroom. Most importantly, I now have confidence in my work and myself as a professional.

I encourage all communication students to get involved in campus organizations and to begin seeking internships. Students, you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you are an underclassmen of any age. Instead, realize you are a determined and goal-driven student looking to prepare yourself for career opportunities. The earlier you start getting involved, the more time you have to gain experience.

I made a successful decision and I encourage all Rowan Communication students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, start your future today.

Future Photojournalists See the Capitol Through the Camera

A guest post by Gerald S. Williams, Adjunct Professor, Journalism Department

Future photojournalists from Rowan viewed Washington, D.C. through a camera lens on Friday, September 16. Students of the two photojournalism classes in the Journalism Department, along with other interested Rowan students, made up a group of over 40 who took the Rowan bus to Washington, D.C., for an educational and fun day trip.

Guided by the two photojournalism class adjunct instructors Gerald Williams and Tim Hawk, the group toured the amazing museum of journalism, the Newseum. Students saw and experienced photos, videos, and exhibits about the full history of journalism and photojournalism. Exhibits showcased the best award-winning photojournalism photos of the past year. Also featured were photos of 9/11 portraying the toll on victims, their families, and the journalists who covered the story and wound up forever changed.  Additionally, the group toured extensive exhibits on the Katrina disaster and its coverage, the presidential personal photographers, and floors of interactive displays highlighting the actual historic news items, key events and stories from the early days of print, radio, and TV journalism up through the present day. Recovered parts of the actual Twin Towers, the airplanes that struck it, and parts of the actual Berlin Wall added a visceral dose of tangible witness to the news events that have shaped our lives and that of journalists worldwide. We could have spent two more days there to see and take it all in.

After the Newseum tour, students visited other locales around the national mall buildings and monuments, while working on a photo assignment for Professors Williams and Hawk. Professional photojournalists Lori Nichols and Alan Dumoff helped the professors give students on-the-spot instruction and advice to help them develop their skills and vision.

We finished with a solemn and interesting photographic experience as the sun went down over Arlington National Cemetery and the Kennedy graves. For many students, this visit was a first-time experience of Washington, D.C. For others, it was a different view.

Online Journalism I and II – Valuable Courses for Communication Majors

~~ A guest blog by Samantha Costa and Danielle Tamburilla, Lambda Pi Eta members and College of Communication students ~~

“In the digital age, journalists have to be willing to experiment, to try new things, and to adapt. And you have to do it because you are passionate about it,” says Online Journalism Professor Mark Berkey-Gerard.

It’s true.  The world in which we live now is far different than it was just a decade ago. The introduction of the Internet and social media sites has allowed us to get news faster and more easily.  With the click of a mouse, we can gain access to a world of information, causing the journalism world to shift uncomfortably under the pressure.

Journalism majors and minors have recently been required to take Online Journalism I, a class that introduces students to the world of practicing journalism online.  However, online journalism courses prove valuable to all students interested in communication.

In Online Journalism I, students set-up and maintain a blog about a chosen beat throughout the semester.  Two posts are required each week along with occasional specialty posts where students apply knowledge recently learned in class to their news gathering and reporting.

For students who are new to working online, this course is a great way to lay the foundation for a possible career.  Many techniques taught in Online Journalism I are slowly but surely becoming requirements for entry-level jobs in communication.  If a student has never handled a digital or video camera, edited audio captured with microphones and digital voice recorders, written simple HTML, or even produced a blog, Professor Berkey-Gerard has it covered.

Skills learned in Online Journalism I include “writing for the web, effective hyper-linking, basic multimedia reporting and production, use of a content management system, basic HTML and CSS, and an intro to SEO, and how social media can be used as a reporting tool,” says Professor Berkey-Gerard. In layman’s terms, Online Journalism I offers students a chance to employ powerful storytelling techniques using text, links, photos, maps, audio and video on their very own blog.  Not only do students learn how write and create multimedia content for the web, they also master how to garner and grow an audience and use social media effectively.  In addition, students come out of Online Journalism I with knowledge of web-related acronyms like SEO (Search Engine Optimization)!

Online Journalism I can be taken by a wide variety of students, because it doesn’t assume knowledge in the area.  According to Professor Berkey-Gerard, “Online Journalism I is an introductory course, so I try to expose students to a range of ideas and approaches.  In the beginning of the semester I try to emphasize effort and experimentation. I don’t expect students to do everything perfectly the first time. I want them to try new things and learn from the experience.”

Online Journalism II builds upon principles from the first course to create a class website comprised of original stories centered on a theme chosen by students at the beginning of the semester. Students branch off into four groups, dealing with different aspects of the site. The tech group works the back-end of the website, tackling more web development skills, as the social media group acts as PR for the website, posting information on Twitter and Facebook. The editorial group establishes the textual introduction and sets the key ideas in place for arranging stories to match the topics chosen. The design group is responsible for picking a theme for the site, how it looks, and what is viewable to visitors.

All in all, students who take both Online Journalism I and II can expect to learn a great deal about using the Internet that can be applied in any communications related situation.  In addition, students come out of these classes with a unique set of skills that could give them a leg up on the competition when searching for a job.