Texas State University welcomed Annie Werner of Tumblr and Google employee Stacie Chan to discuss how to be successful in the ultra-competitive media industry as part of the school’s annual Mass Communication Week.
In addition to providing an in-depth background about their own careers, both Werner and Chan provided anecdotal advice geared towards soon-to-be and recent graduate.
Werner, a San Marcos native, turned her internship at Tumblr into a full-time job after graduating from NYU. She showed examples of successful blogs that translated into jobs for their owners, including a site detailing actress Blake Lively’s every move that turned into a job at Buzzfeed for a friend of hers.
Her advice for student bloggers included narrowing the focus of their websites, carving out a niche for themselves in cyberspace. “Differentiate yourself in your blog and make it more you,” Werner said.
Chan said her path to Google was slightly less traditional, using networking and outreach to secure her place at the media giant.
At an alumni networking event for her alma mater Stanford University, Chan met a Google news employee and asked him about his job as it was something she was considering doing a few years down the road. The inside information eventually translated into a job for Chan, whose younger sister also works at Google.
“The old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is partially true,” Chan said. “It’s a combination of both what you know and who you know.”
The panel’s audience was comprised of Fundamentals of Digital and Online Communication and Web Design and Publishing classes as well as students from various majors who popped by to gain insight into the real-world of media careers.
Web Design student Taylor Tompkins said that while her attendance at the panel was compulsory, she was glad she attended as it taught her about aspects of digital journalism.
“What Stacie said about choosing a digital career path instead of a traditional print journalism one really spoke to me because I’ve been considering the same thing,” Tompkins said.