Department of Mass Communications holds annual Media Day

Students in the Alcorn State University Department of Mass Communications listened to sound advice from seasoned journalists during the department’s annual media event.

Professional journalists from across the state of Mississippi spoke to students at the Department of Mass Communications Media Day 2015 event Wednesday, April 8th in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Hall, Gold Room. A panelist of 11 media professionals gave the students tips that would prepare them for their career.

Keynote speaker Jackie Hampton, who is the publisher and co-owner of The Mississippi Link newspaper in Jackson, Miss., applauded the students for finding themselves in the midst of their college years.

“Continue to be good students,” said Hampton. “It is good that you all know what you want to do during your younger days. It feels good to see you all working towards your goals at such a young age.”

Kennan Oliphant, who is the assistant news director at WLBT/WDBD in Jackson, Miss., emphasized the importance of students securing an internship and having the drive to be successful.

“Getting an internship is important,” said Oliphant. “An internship would show you if you like the field that you have chosen. If you are motivated and active on your internship, then hiring managers would be glad to offer you a full time position or recommend you to another media outlet. Managers are always looking for people who has a skill set in the field and a desire to learn.”

Karlos Sanders, a photojournalist for WLBT in Jackson, Miss., shared that constantly working on your craft is key to becoming a force in their area of journalism.

“Practice the skill you developed in class,” said Sanders. “Repetition is important. You should practice your skills as much as possible because if you don’t have the skills to be a journalist, then managers in the media would not hire you. So while you are in school, try to do some type of news package every day.”

Media consultant, coach and public relations leader Kathy Times mentioned how connecting with media professionals is imperative for the students’ media development.

“Find a journalism mentor who could critique your work and give you pointers about your craft,” said Times. “Mentors have the ability to guide you in the right direction and open doors for you. You can find mentors by networking at journalism conferences and joining media organizations. Networking with people who are able to give you an opportunity is how you can get your foot in the door.”

Theresa Apel, who is the crime and breaking news reporter at the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Miss., spoke to the students about being multi-faceted in the field and possessing a high level of integrity.

“Learn every aspect of the media,” said Apel. “In today’s world of journalism, you would be better off if you master all of the areas of media, especially writing because it is the foundation of journalism. Also, remember to treat everyone with respect and kindness. Being nice in this field will help you get valuable sources.”

Alcorn alumna and FOX 40 anchor, analyst and reporter Melissa Faith Payne encouraged the students not to be afraid of relocating to find the best opportunities in the field.

“You should have the will to step outside of your comfort zone and leave your environment. I got my start in journalism in Salt Lake City, Utah. You have to go where the jobs are and get experience. Once you get your experience, then you could move to where you want to be.”

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