By Dante’ James
Local and national journalism experts visited Texas Southern University to offer their unique insights on the current state of modern journalism.
For the last 25 years, TSU Communication Week has focused on delivering pertinent information to its students through open dialogue sessions in the form of panel discussions.
Moderated by Professor Sandifer-Walker, this panel included heavy hitters in journalism today such as Vernon Loeb – Houston Chronicle managing editor, Melinda Spaulding – VP of TSU Advancement, Monique O. Madan – Miami Herald breaking news reporter, and RoShanda Tate Billingsley – Houston Defender Network, managing editor.
The panel’s focus centered around what it takes to achieve success in the world of journalism.
“I love the news and you need to have that kind of passion for it,” said Emmy award winning journalist, Spaulding. “Our skills are intersecting now and as a journalist you’re expected to have basic skills on every platform.”
Spaulding, Howard University alumna, also mentioned the importance of networking and becoming a familiar face because most employers hire people they know and are comfortable with.
“There’s a credibility to what we write,” Loeb said. “Just because newspapers are dying it doesn’t mean journalism is. Journalism is incredibly vibrant and is one of the few jobs that searches for the truth. The key to success in this field comes down to two important characteristics: work ethic and attitude.”
Loeb, whose resume includes various writing and editing jobs for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Inquirer, also extended an invitation to knock down his door at the Houston Chronicle for internship opportunities, stating how eager he is to groom young professionals.
“Aggressiveness pays off, you actually can do it all you just need to carve your own path,” said Billingsley.
According to Billingsley, there’s a major importance placed on catching the reader’s interest without inputting your personal opinions.
“Always do your research, never stop reading, never stop learning and most importantly don’t be shy,” said Madan.
Madan is known as being the first reporter to break Trayvon Martin’s story spoke on the importance of relationships, stating that she only found out about Martin through his uncle who she had interviewed previously because they were both students at Miami Dade College.
By the end of the panel, internships and persistence were the main points each panelist stressed for students to progress and make a mark in the journalism world.
The passion each panelist showed towards journalism left students evaluating what role they will play in the future of the journalism realm.