A new beginning at the crossroads of Carroll and Career

Welcome, y’all!

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!

J School students meet with Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky

J School students meet with Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky

J School alum Dana Monocky showed broadcasting students around Fox News. @UNCMJCareers sits on the News Deck in Fox News anchor Shepard Smith's chair.

J School alum Dana Monocky showed broadcasting students around Fox News. @UNCMJCareers sits on the News Deck in Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s chair.

J School students sat in on Brooke Baldwin's 3-4 p.m. block on CNN and afterwards answered questions.

J School students sat in on Brooke Baldwin’s 3-4 p.m. block on CNN and afterwards Brooke and her lead producer in NYC gave broadcast students invaluable career advice.


Not Your Average Summer Internship!

Taylor Baird

 Class of 2014, Intern, Gibbs & Soell Business Communications


“Interning at a creative agency has been an extremely rewarding experience. I’ve done a little bit of everything: event planning,media pitching, press release writing, client pitching, advertorials, HR, photography and graphic design. I have learned so much about public relations and the agency’s unique clients – including a global biotechnology company. Now, I am excited to see where my career will take me and honored to have worked alongside the industry’s best and brightest professionals.”

Madison Way

Class of 2014, Event Production Intern, ESPN


“I help put together events that air on ESPN and its various platforms. I worked on X Games Munich, the NBA Draft, Little League World Series and several MLB games. I’m now working on X Games L.A. My day-to-day varies, but I usually help put together videos to air during events. For example, I helped our team put together the SportsCenter “Top 10 X Games Moments of 2013” during X Games Munich. So far, the coolest thing I’ve done would probably have to be escorting gold-medalist Nyjah Huston around the ESPN campus. It was my second week, so it was a good opportunity for me to get to know the layout and the way shows operate. Plus, Nyjah is just a really cool guy to be around. I got to escort Coach Fedora around campus last week, too!”

Paige Hanson

Class of 2014, Fashion Editorial Intern, Condé Nast Traveler


“My day-to-day assignments at Traveler vary with the flux and flow of any monthly magazine, depending on whether we are preparing for a photo shoot or in the stage after the photo shoot. I mainly handle the clothing samples loaned to the magazine for each shoot and communicate with each designer’s PR team as to how and when the clothes will be returned post-shoot. Sometimes I am also lucky enough to go on my boss’s appointments on her behalf, which means attending the preview show for a designer’s upcoming collection. I love going to work every day in the Condé Nast Tower right in Times Square, and I feel so lucky to be working in the same building as many of the creative geniuses behind some of the top magazines in the country like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and GQ, among many others.”

Janie Sircey

Class of 2015, Intern, 2adpro Media Solutions, Chennai, India


“In my time working at 2adpro, I have created social media campaigns and assisted in designing ads for clients like Century 21 Department Stores and Macy’s. I’ve had the opportunity to design and implement branding strategies and assist with brand management operations, but most importantly, I’ve been able to see my work go from idea to implementation. I will never forget the feeling of watching my work carry conversations with clients. Working directly with creative directors and clients has given me the inside scoop into the agency world, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the projects and experiences that I’ve been given.”

Andy Pitts

Class of 2014, Publicist Assistant, Discovery Communications


“Working for Discovery has given me new insight into the world of broadcasting. I’ve been involved the planning and promotion of an exciting new new show for the Science Channel which will debut this fall. My other highlights include brainstorming episode ideas, writing a number of press releases for Velocity (number one fastest growing network on cable), and helping plan parts of panels for Comic Con.”

Did We Mention The Importance of Networking?

Networking is a critical piece of any career search, whether seeking an internship or full-time position, and is one of the primary techniques for locating opportunities successfully. Networking is the process of building a group of professional contacts through an exchange of information, also known as an informational interview. Making connections is an investment in your future, no matter your year in college. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the multiple networking trips the J-School offers each semester! 

Here are some pictures of our previous trips, and we cannot tell you how great of an experience this was for everybody!


NBC17 Interns with Penn Holderness


Students meeting with J.J. Carter at Fleishman Hillard Public Relations


J-School Students visiting Pixar Studios


J-School student testing out GoogleGlass at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA