Thursday, May 4

Networking with Local News Professionals

Meeting News Professionals, First-Hand Research &
a Glimpse into the Future

BC 312 (Broadcast Journalism II) wrapped up an outstanding semester where students produced resume tapes, web content and insightful research papers. Three students presented their papers on the future of local broadcast news at the 2006 Westminster Undergraduate Research Symposium.

These papers included information from local media experts giving insight on such topics as converging newsrooms, the new primetime for local news, citizen journalism and the role of video journalists.

We hosted four guest speakers during the semester. In addition to offering our students a chance to interact with industry professionals, these visits offered information on making resume tapes, the importance of internships and how to go about getting that first job. They also received valuable feedback on their television stories produced for the class. Our visitors included:
  • Westminster College Webmaster Jonathan Smith
  • WFJM-TV Photographer & WC alum John Mikulas
  • WPXI-TV Photographer & WC alum Tony Ruffulo
  • WYTV-TV Sports Director/Anchor Bob Hannon
  • WJAC-TV Anchor/Reporter Rich Klindworth

I also wanted to thank some generous people in New Castle and Youngstown for hosting field trips. They gave a large chunk of time to talking one on one with students about the future of journalism, the state of local news and what skills and experience will help them succeed in the changing newsroom environment.

WFJM-TV News Director Mona Alexander

This field trip allowed students to meet with a television news director one on one. Students presented their television
reporting tapes for feedback while also talking with Mona on topics ranging from resume tape building to the future of local news. Students were also treated to a personal tour of WFMJ by the news director who came in on her vacation to meet with our group.

New Castle News Publisher Max Thompson & Editor Tim Kolodziej
The New Castle News field trip and interviews resulted in fostering a potential relationship with the newspaper about new media projects including talks about WCN and WC students producing content to air on cable and on the New Castle News web site. An interesting note here is one of the BC 312 students was interning at the NC News during this semester. Meanwhile a media arts student was also working as a freelancer at the paper while a media arts graduate from last year is working at the NC News.

One comment from Tim Kolodziej that I found compelling was his vision of using video and audio for the newspaper's web site.

He said, "One day we (The New Castle News) will be the local television and radio station for Lawrence County."

I think that's a wake up call for local radio stations. Most local radio stations don't even bother with local news let alone have any identity or branding online. But Titan Radio does!

If local radio and television stations want a piece of the future they better move now before the newspapers claim it all. I see the real vision for the future coming from the smaller, local newspapers. I also see newspapers as a place BC students can seek out career opportunities. Our students have skills and experience in interviewing, writing, storytelling, audio and video. They're producers, communicators and have worked all aspects of broadcasting. They truly have a liberal arts grasp of the new newsroom.

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