Early this morning I got back from a journalism convention for the Alestle, and every time I go to a convention, I come back with ideas and knowledge to contribute to the newspaper. This one was no different.
Every session at the convention delivered something that would help all the future journalists at Illinois colleges–from beat reporting, to social media use to investigative reporting. But what is just as important as the knowledge we all take back from the conventions is the amount of connections we have the potential to make within the industry.
Journalists from newspapers around the state (thought largely the Chicago Tribune), are the ones giving presentations and willingly offer e-mail addresses, advice and other forms of contact information if anyone has questions, comments, etc. Having a major in a career where finding a job seems to be much more difficult than others, the ability to attend conferences (in or out of state) allows the opportunity to make connections and develop professional relationships with these journalists for help in finding a job after graduation, or even just to have some guidance in the field.
Networking environments like this are one of the best advantages to writing for a college newspaper. It gives you a foot in the door, so to speak, before you even graduate and opens up many more opportunities than a traditional graduate with a mass communications/journalism degree.