By Amber L. Vernon
Seven Texas Southern University journalism alumni showered a group of aspiring journalists with advice on how to break into the industry during a panel discussion Tuesday, April 21, at noon.
The panelists shared their story with a wide-eyed group of undergraduate journalism students, providing tips on how to make connections, get the most out of internships, and market a personal brand.
TSU alumnus Doug Delony encouraged students to use the internet to their full advantage.
“The Internet gives you the ability to market yourself in ways people, 10 to 15 years ago, who tried to break into the T.V. or newspaper business could not do,” said Delony. “Take advantage of every tool that you have available and be a good storyteller whether it’s on Facebook or on Twitter.”
After Delony talked to students about using the internet to market themselves, TSU alumnus Charles Hudson told students to utilize the resources that are readily available to them on campus. He told students about how he started at KTSU radio station and has never left.
“Do not blow the opportunity that you have at your own radio station,” said Hudson. “You learn production, how to write a story, and build your resume at the same time.”
In addition to being encouraged to use resources on campus, TSU alumna Nakia Cooper advised students to be diligent about making connections.
“Always stay in something,” said Cooper. “Always stay a part of HABJ or NABJ. Keep your face out there so people will know who you are. When I was a student, I was in everything and I went to every conference that Professor Walker sent me to.”
One thing that panelists unanimously agreed on was that everyone pursuing a career in media should have a strong base in writing.
Freshman Wendy Olewe said she was glad she came to the alumni panel.
“Hearing what the alumni had to say really encouraged me,” said Olewe. “Attending the panel made me realize that I don’t need to focus on just one thing, but that I need to know everything. I didn’t think I would have to focus on writing since I want to be in front of the camera.”
Among the alumni who returned for TSU CommWeek’s Journalism Day were Nakia Cooper, Kenneth Ware, Jr, Doug Delony, Monica Williams, Charles Hudson, Vinnika Johnson, and Ruben Dominguez.
All seven of the alumni recognized journalism professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker for being a motivating professor.
“You need to be very grateful you have this person,” said Hudson.
Cooper and Hudson added that TSU is an open hearted place and full of people like Walker who are willing to help students in their time of need.
“Going to an HBCU is like a church,” said Cooper. “They will love you, accept you, and take care of you.”