Catch up time — Murrow Symposium

Murrow Symposium in Pullman. Just back from this year’s Edward R. Murrow Symposium at the College of Communications at WSU, and the message this year: Journalism is not dead. It’s simply changing. Yes, it’s a revolutionary change in the way we collect and distribute the news, but there is still very much a need for trained journalists who are ethical, and know how to tell a good story!

(In the photo at left, Loree Wagner, professor and Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson, Lynn Espinoza, and yours truly).

Students need our help. At a time when budget cuts are slamming higher education, professionals can make a huge difference in the quality of education that our communications students receive. As a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the College of Communications, we are very aware of the restraints on resources during this challenging time. We are working to be creative in ways to give students more opportunities . I want to give a ‘shout out’ to fellow board member Mike Harney who works in Los Angeles. He has pulled together other WSU alums in LA to help mentor and critique students’ work via Skype, and other means. The students love it, they get the opinions of people already working in TV and film, and it gives them a chance to develop relationships with people already in the industry. Way to go, Mike!

I learn something every year. I try to attend at least one session at the symposium every year, and each time, I learn something new and useful. This year’s session was entitled ‘Viral PR’ and led by Phil Gomes from Edelman Digital. (Even Phil admitted — he hates that title).  Phil put on a very informative session with examples on social media and how to monitor coverage of your clients online — through blogs, message boards, You Tube, and more. The social media landscape has changed so radically in the last year, that it’s nearly impossible to keep up unless you are in that realm on a consistent basis. We learned the value of monitoring online conversations, how to do it (ever heard of Convo Track?), and some ways to keep things positive for your clients online.

Student resume critiques. I didn’t lead a session this year, but devoted 3 solid hours to critiquing students’ resumes. I was in the broadcast sequence, and the lines were long, but overall, I came away impressed with the activities and depth of knowledge students are gaining through both their classes, and volunteering on various shows. I always ask students what they want to do in broadcasting — ‘on air’ or ‘production,’ and 10 to 1, it’s always, “I want to be an anchor.” I always tell them that to be a good anchor, you need to be a solid reporter first. Internships are the most valuable thing a student can do to make contacts, and see if it’s really how they want to spend their lives. You have to be passionate about news to make it a career. And talking to the students, I realized how lucky I was in my career: out of 25 years, I anchored for nearly 23 of them, and lived in fabulous places and met terrific people!

Trip to the Coug. No trip to Pullman is complete without a trip to the Coug, even for the symposium. And yes, we made a trip (or two or three) there. I have never laughed so hard at everyone’s stories, and the memories we share from our college days. In all, a successful symposium.

In the photo at right are Kate Bergman (in front), Loree Wagner, Lynn Espinoza (the birthday girl in this photo), me in the back, Joyce Szymanski and Eric Johnson.  

 

 

 

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