This blog was actually created more than a year ago by several students in the Public Relations Writing class. These students suggested this would be a great way to share career news, as well as updates on what our interesting alumni are up to, wherever they may be living.
Now it is time to get up to warp speed, particularly with the re-naming/re-branding of what was the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to the School of Media and Journalism (www.mj.unc.edu).
At the heart, I want this blog to focus on connections: Bringing information to students, alumni and others to help build their knowledge connection of what is happening in the world of media and journalism AND connecting current students to the wide array of fascinating alums in their career fields.
There is no better place to start this journey than a quick #TBT to 2 week ago for the annual JAFA Networking Trip to New York City. The Journalism Alumni and Friends Association, along with a very generous alum (thanks, Catherine Reuhl Becker!) has helped spearhead networking trips to major media markets such as New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Charlotte, Atlanta and Chicago. Over fall break, the J School always visits New York City. Earlier this month, 16 students visited New York City, meeting alumni and key leaders in the fields of public relations, advertising, broadcasting and reporting.
The experience—ranging from sometimes running into celebrities to gaining boots-on-the-ground career advice—can be invigorating and vital in jumpstarting job and internship searches. The J School is fortunate to have many alums and friends who gave us valuable time and advice. Here are some key takeaways from some of these folks:
- At Weber Shandwick (2014 Global Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report; http://www.webershandwick.com), we heard from several people, including Megan Malley, a 2008 alum (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/megan-malley/9/b63/181), who is an account director in their healthcare practice and Andy Polansky, the CEO of Weber Shandwick. Malley had this piece of information that I love to repeat: “Leveraging the UNC network is incredible. It helped me figure out which agency was the best fit for me. It not only opened new doors, but also helped me figure out what is the right fit.”
- Polansky reenforced how public relations is growing in importance in the C-Suite of many companies. “Companies more and more are keenly focused on reputation. Consumers are much more interested in the company behind the brand.”
- Sarah LeTrent is a 2009 alum (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-letrent/b/19a/761) and is a digital content producer with CNN Original Series and Films (think Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and The Seventies mini series). Sarah started at CNN to help get a novel food blog, Eatocracy, off the ground. She has evolved from that role to helping spread the digital footprint of the original series and films CNN broadcasts. That digital presence is everpresent in her job and should be front of the mind for students. “If I am hiring, I will Google you. You have to have a digital presence. That could be Twitter, a blog, Instagram. But you have to be out there.”
That is just some of the advice from the NYC trip. Look for more to come from several of the students who were on the NYC trip, as well as some advice from previous trips.
See you soon!