Students gain insight from seasoned journalists at Media Day

The Department of Mass Communication at Alcorn State University held its annual Media Day Wednesday, April 4 in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Facility Gold Room.  As media professionals in the field of mass communications, the panelists shared tips on how to excel as journalists. Therese Apel, breaking news and crime reporter for The Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, served as the keynote speaker.

According to Apel, every journalist should maintain their integrity and sources, tell the story how it happened, and not how they want to hear it.

"It is important to paint a picture of the victim, whether they were killed in a drug deal gone bad, or by her doctor husband who flew in on a leer jet. Allow the victim to be seen in a positive manner."

Apel said that what makes a person successful and good at their job is when you put your whole heart into it.

"When you are telling a story about something or someone, the best thing you can do is to put your complete heart into it."

According to Apel, you must stay open-minded about your future.

"God puts us where he wants us to be. Write about the bake sale or man down at your local bank, it'll show who you are as a reporter."

Beunkka Davis, an Alcorn alumna who earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications, stated that "There is a media department in every industry, no matter what type of company there is a need for media. You have to be like a spider and have a web so that you can have different channels to take."

According to  Justus Reed of Alcorn State University's Office of Marketing and Communication, in order for students to get better at writing and their crafts, they must start practicing. He encouraged the students to "practice so when you get a chance, you will be ready."

When speaking on the importance of hard work, Alcorn State alumnus Timothy Crisler said, "You have to be able to do anything and everything, be a one-man band. You have to be passionate about what you're doing. Be the best you that you can be, make your own brand. Be unique and set yourself apart. Push yourself to the limit."

Branding yourself in a positive light and practicing your craft were the two topics that were discussed the most. Jackie Hampton from the Mississippi Link Newspaper spoke about making yourself available at a moments notice.

"Be willing to move at a moments notice, don't mind getting up early and staying up late. Make good contacts, introduce yourself to many individuals you can call on at a moments notice."

"Media day was very beneficial, I learned a lot from the panelist. Their words were very motivational," said La'keilla Veal, a senior mass communication major.

"I enjoyed the realism and the feedback about current issues that are occurring in our society such as the opinions on Fox News and CNN. Often times these things shape and misguide journalist and members of the media," said Amari' Ferguson, a junior mass communication Major.

"It was a liberating experience and I learned something new from each panelist. None of the panelists gave the same answer, so you were receiving different point of views from various members of the media industry," said Christina Murray, a senior mass communication major.