The School of Journalism and Mass Communication successfully hosted their annual Mass Communications Week.
This event is a four-day conference that allows students to interact with professionals in their prospective fields and discuss issues, trends, and media careers.
Today’s final events proved just as exciting with guest speakers from CNN, USA Today and Google, alumni and student panels, and various other professionals.
Vera Fischer, alumna and founder of 97 Degrees West, an advertising agency in Austin, started off the final day with a discussion on advertising. Fischer started working in real estate when she graduated South Western Texas University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, advertising and business.
Her discussion Thursday morning not only gave students valuable lessons for the work place, but also for life. “Your journey is your own.” said Fischer. “The ‘ladder perception’ of working your way up is a myth. It’s more of a lattice.” She encouraged students that every position they hold is experience and should not be mistaken as a waste of time.
Ana Cantu, social media manager at Google; Polo Sandoval, alumnus and CNN correspondent; and Michael Vela, alumnus and director of communications for the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, held a discussion panel on paving their way to their current careers.
Sandoval had always wanted to get a career in law enforcement. Journalism sparked his interest when the attack of September 11 occurred. After watching the breaking news coverage that day he became more interested in news, “Sept. 12, I switched my focus,” said Sandoval.
Ana Cantu said internships can be competitive, so students should create their own website to showcase their work.
“It’s a tough business. You have to be a kick ass writer. [Writing’s] that important!” said Sandoval.
Joyce King, author and USA Today columnist led a discussion on racism and the influences of technology.
As an African American, King said, “There’s always someone willing to remind me I am black. I don’t need a reminding. I have a mirror.” She said she would like her legacy to be that one person can make a difference.
Alumni and other students got involved in a panel discussion on crisis coverage dealing with the Fort Hood shootings.
Debbie Hiott, editor of the Austin American Statesman, was among one of the members on the discussion panel, and said crisis coverage is about informing the public. Social media is essential.
During a breaking news event it’s easy to get caught up with competitors, but journalists must remember the audience’s need and it is important to be right before being first, said Hiott.
Mass Communications Week wrapped up with a Meet ‘n Greet at the Meadows Center Thursday night. It was an opportunity for students to interacts less formally with the various guest speakers and make valuable contacts for future career endeavors.