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.

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.

Rowan Radio

~~ A guest post by Christina Maxwell, Lambda Pi Eta member and RTF major ~~

If you’re a student of the College of Communication, it’s a good idea to join a club or activity. From the Rowan Television Network to The Whit, Rowan University’s newspaper, there are plenty of choices that provide great opportunities for communication majors. The award winning campus radio station, WGLS, allows students to reach their potential by gaining hands-on experience right in Bozorth Hall.

WGLS-FM keeps its listeners engaged with a variety of music and educational programs dedicated to those in the Rowan community and South Jersey. Rowan Radio is on the air twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week featuring on air personalities that are Rowan students and alumni as well as community volunteers. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock, rhythm and blues, jazz or show tunes – this radio station caters to all genres of music. If you’re looking for talk radio, WGLS has award winning programs such as “A Community Affair,” that focuses on issues impacting residents of Gloucester County and South Jersey, and “The Rowan Report,” a weekly newscast with the latest national and local headlines. WGLS also has play-by-play and in-depth analysis coverage of all Rowan University athletics and the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Kansas City Royals Minor League affiliate

You don’t have to be a Radio/TV/Film major to join. Many members of WGLS are majoring in other communication areas. That’s what makes being part of this organization so unique – it gives you an opportunity to interact with different students of the College of Communication, all the while learning on-air techniques and the ins and outs of a radio station operation. It’s not only informative, but it’s an enjoyable experience you won’t forget.

Although there is an introductory meeting at the beginning of every semester, I suggest you stop by the station and introduce yourself to either the station manager or the student manager. When I first transferred to Rowan in January 2010, I was immediately interested in volunteering at the station. I finished my training and was on air by the summer session. So if working at a radio station is your career choice, or if the idea of volunteering at WGLS entices you, absolutely try to make time for it in your busy schedule. After you successfully complete a training session and the written test, you can apply for your own daytime shift the next semester. Once you’ve completed a full semester learning the basics and having a two hour show every week, you can apply for specialty shows, or try your hand in another department. Maybe you’re interested in promotions, sports or even news. It’s up to you!

Rowan University allows students to have the chance to explore so many different opportunities, so don’t let one slip by. Check out Rowan Radio today!