Live Blog: Journalism 101: Ask Me Anything

By Sarah Darby and Maria Davison

This evening, we've invited a panel of students from different emphasis areas around the J School to talk about their experiences and tips for success. 

We have a great group of panelists including strategic communication student Courtney Schier, print/digital student Elise Schmelzer, magazine student Adrienne Donica, convergence student Berkeley Lovelace, broadcast TV student Rose Schmidt and broadcast radio student Michaela Tucker.

And the questions begin!

First question: When I came as a freshman, I was really wondering if I should work at the student publications on campus?

Rose worked at MUTV in her first few years at Mizzou, and she says that it was a great experience, and helped her prepare for her work at KOMU.

Elise worked at the Maneater for a brief period of time during her freshman year, then joined a startup that doesn't exist anymore, and got a lot from that experience. It was a safe space to make mistakes and get experience. She also says that no one should feel like they have to work there.

Michaela didn't join any of the student publications, but go involved in other campus organizations.

Can you get involved in the professional outlets in your freshman year?

Berkeley says that at KOMU, it's totally possible to get involved early.

Rose says it's possible to get involved cutting video for national news, calling sources and monitoring phones.

Adrienne says VOX has contributing writers and bloggers every semester, and that's something underclassmen can apply for.

Courtney says that, for strategic communications, the American Advertising Federation has group sessions, mentoring and a competition called NSAC, which is a student advertising competition. At most schools, this competition is run as a class, but here it's something that underclassmen can get involved in and have a role in. She had the opportunity to go to Kansas City and pitch to the client.

How do you build relationships with your professors?

Elise says she's formed a good relationship with her editor at the Missourian. One of the best ways to do that, she says, is to do whatever you're supposed to be doing well. And always be open and willing to try new things. The faculty will appreciate your willingness to go out on a limb.

Ellise says that photo is so small that it's easy to get to know your professors. She also went in and began talking to them before she even took classes in her emphasis. She also built relationships with other students in her emphasis, which helped her get to know all the people in that circle.

Michaela says radio only has one faculty member, and anyone interested in radio will get to know him. She says that if you make it clear that you're really interested in what you're doing, they will help you along.

Rose says that, at KOMU, almost everyone is a Mizzou grad, so they understand her experience. She says joking around with them helps as well.

Adrienne says that writing thank you notes when you ask for recommendations goes a long way.

What has been your biggest screw-up, and how did you come back from it?

Rose says that her first day at KOMU was the day of the same-sex marriage decision. So she went to the Boone County news conference, but she managed to not actually record her story. Someone else from KOMU had to come and help her out. And she just moved on, and has done good work since then.

Berkeley says technical difficulties happen, and it's okay. You'll want to cry, but you will be okay.

Adrienne says she has had recorders fail, so take good notes. And you can call people back and ask them again.

What about journalism, for you, makes it a career you're excited about?

Elise says she likes journalism because she feels like she can affect change. You're not an activist as a journalist, but by making something important, you can make people pay attention. She also likes telling stories that wouldn't get told other ways. 

Rose says you get to meat interesting and different people that you wouldn't normally get to meet. Her life is made better by getting to meet these people.

Ellise says that she loves people. She loves listening and hearing stories and bringing that to light for other people. 

Rose says she has learned to talk to people and tell their stories, and there's something magical.

Courtney says that there is a lot of storytelling in communication, even in ad campaigns or in work for brands. You're not only trying to convey who the brand is, but also portraying that brand in a human way where people relate to them.

How do you get internships?

Adrienne says that the career center is a really great resource to look for postings. It's never too early to start planning, especially if you're interested in more prestigious brands.

Rose says professors have good resources.

Berkeley agrees, adding that they have connections. He also says that following up with the people who hire internships helps. That shows that you want to work there and that you're really interested in what they do.

Michaela says there are Facebook groups have a lot of postings as well.

Courtney says that there are a lot of local agencies that will hire students as interns during the year as well as over the summer. Professors and older students can help as well.

Elise says that there are several professional organizations housed on campus who work with students as well.

If you have the credit to graduate early, would you do it? Or would you draw it out?

Michaela says to draw it out. Spending more time here, she'll be able to get more clips and apply for better jobs. It's also giving her the opportunity to study more things, outside of journalism, which will make her a better reporter.

Rose, who is graduating in three years, is ready to get started working. And it also saves a lot of money.

Katy, from our executive board, who is in graduate school, says that it depends on your reasons for graduating early. If you're ready to get out in the field: go for it. But if you're not sure, take your time. Take some extra classes. Get more clips.

Courtney says that she could have graduated, but wanted to do Mojo, and spread her credits out so that she has more time to devote to Mojo and the things that she really wants to do.

Ellise says study abroad is also something to consider. She studied abroad last semester, and it was a great experience for her.

How important is it to have internships?

Michaela worked on an educational ranch this summer instead of interning. She worked with kids and lived in the poorest county of New Mexico. She says it was a really great cultural experience. And she had the time to learn about things, and not always be looking for the right quote. It's also nice to step away from the newsroom.

Adrienne says that lots of people who are very successful always say that it's important to have life experience as well as journalism experience, and that can be a beneficial path as well.

What's your best must-get-this-story done spot?

There is an argument about Lakota vs. Kaldi's.

That's it for the questions. If there's anything we didn't answer, let us know in the comments. Or tweet at us @ONAMizzou.

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