By ANNA STREETMAN
KENNESAW, Ga. — Students from Kennesaw State University and other schools had the opportunity Saturday to learn the “ins and outs” of journalism from three guest speakers who have found success in the field.
Speaking to a joint meeting of the Atlanta Press Club and the Kennesaw State chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the panelists each gave advice for those wanting to go into journalism.
“Take advantage of your internships and always be persistent,” said Elly Yu, a reporter at WABE in Atlanta and a graduate of City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.
“Sharpen your multimedia skills, and go back to school if you think there’s more to learn,” she said. “Go into every job believing you’re a reporter, and don’t be afraid to pitch your own story ideas.”
Christina Lee, a freelance journalist who specializes in hip-hop music, recommended potential journalists “put themselves out there.”
“Immerse yourself in your interests,” Lee said. “Go to shows if you like music. Go to town meetings if you enjoy politics. Eighty percent of journalism is showing up. You never know who you are going to meet or what you could learn. There’s a whole world of stories outside of your desk.”
Roger Newton, a KSU alumnus who is video editor for the Center for Sustainable Journalism, stressed the importance of school for networking opportunities.
“Pay attention in class and make a good impression,” he said. “Work hard, make good grades, and don’t be afraid to stand out. Take advantage of the connections you make with professors and advisors. It could help get you a job.”
Lee had some advice for conducting a good interview.
“Do your research so you can ask better questions,” Lee said. “For example, if you are interviewing somebody who is a musician, listen to their album. Know specific songs and lyrics you want to ask them about. It’ll help make the story more personal and will show them you are interested in their music.”
All guest speakers recommended having an online presence and portfolio, internship experience, a diverse skill set, and a good resume.
“Consider what each employer would want to see,” said Lee. “Are they interested in a good leader? Somebody who can make videos? Somebody who can edit? It’s important to think about what each individual employer wants to see in an applicant.”
Newton said his favorite part of being a journalist was “having an impact on people. All it takes is one person telling me I made a difference for me to keep going. One person makes all the difference.”