Students Gain Insight From Professionals at Alumni Panel

Students Gain Insight From Professionals at Alumni Panel

By Eric Harper

The Journalism and Broadcasting Alumni discussed challenges they have had and tips for success in journalism at the Journalism and Broadcasting Alumni Panel Thursday as part of Texas State’s Mass Communication Week.

Panelists included Austin American-Statesman news reporter Isadora Vail, Statesman.com content producer Maira Garcia, Texas State football announcer Brant Freeman and San Antonio Express-News business reporter Jason Buch.

The panelists agreed networking and experience are the ways to land jobs in the industry. Buch, former University Star editor in chief, said aspiring journalists should look for any opportunity to get their work out.

“Get any kind of experience at any kind of publication, Buch said. “Each one is going to do things differently and they will have tougher deadlines.”

Freeman said networking can provide a way to stand out above others who are applying for jobs in the field.

“There are 200 people applying for a given job that have done the same things you have,” Freeman said. “It’s about forming those relationships with people on the inside.”

Garcia, who was also editor in chief at the Star, said her experience as editor was invaluable.

“Working at the Star was one of the greatest experiences,” Garcia said. “It’s not only good for learning, but for figuring out how to manage people.”

Buch said it is important to be willing to work jobs that may not be ideal situations when starting a career in journalism.

“I try to set goals and not get too upset when I have to back out on some things,” Buch said.

Freeman said graduates should be cautious of what they expect when they hit the job market.

“When I graduated I was naïve and thought my abilities would land me a national job,” Freeman said. “You need to be confident, but also humble and understand where you are.”

Garcia said social media can also be an important component to advancing a career.

“It connects you to people you wouldn’t normally be in contact with,” Garcia said. “I got my job at the Statesman through twitter.”

Vail, former Star news reporter and Society of Professional Journalists president, said social media helps journalists build more intimate relationships with their readers.

“I like being able to communicate with my readers,” Vail said. “If they feel comfortable talking with me, then I’m doing something right.”

Loving what they do was a common thread for the panelists.

“Anyone who goes into any medium in journalism has to have passion,” Freeman said.

Vail said passion for her craft has been what makes journalism her choice for a career.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I dove in head first,” Vail said. “It’s a hard job and a lot of work, but if you love what you are doing it’s going to be fine.”

Photo: Panelists Isadora Vail, Brant Freeman, Jason Buch and Maira Garcia shared their insights to journalism Thursday in Old Main 320 at the Journalism and Broadcasting Alumni panel.

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