Journalists and Alabama graduates share career advice

Senior journalism majors at The University of Alabama are quickly approaching graduation on Saturday. Some students have landed their dream jobs, while others are still searching on job engines and looking for post-graduate internships.
Journalists and students revealed useful tactics to gain a potential employers attention and be successful at their job. The May 2016 College of Communication and Information Sciences graduating class had 404 graduates. Two hundred forty-four students took part in a survey that reported that 69 percent had jobs upon graduating in their field.
Tasha Smith, program manager of career services at UA, works with students who are looking for careers after graduation, helps build resumes, cover letters and conduct mock interviews.
“There is a plethora of ways that students get their future jobs including internships, networking, crimson careers and on-campus job-fairs, which seem to be the most popular,” said Smith.
Charean Williams, a Texas A&M alumnus, has been covering the NFL for 23 seasons. Her position at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram requires her to build relationships with players and post daily updates to the website and her personal Twitter page. Williams was the first female Pro Football Hall of Fame writer and first female president for Pro Football Writers of America.
“Get to know players on a personal level rather than a professional only level. Talk to these guys about life, about what’s going on in the world, they love talking about basketball more than anything else in the world,” said Williams.
Steve Hennessey, the associate editor for Golf Digest in New York City has been with the publication since he graduated from Penn State University in 2011. His responsibilities include writing and editing for the magazine along with blog posts on Golf Digest and
“The more experience you have the better. You’ll be more attractive to a potential employer. General journalism skills and being able to take videos and edit with software are most important,” said Hennessey.
Dan Wolken, the national college football reporter for USA Today graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2001. He was the editor-in-chief for the Vanderbilt Hustler, college basketball reporter for Memphis Commercial Appeal and national sports columnist for The Daily. Wolken is featured on sports radio talk shows and podcasts weekly while having an engaging Twitter fan-base.
“Internships outweigh your GPA in this industry. Experience is more important than a subpar GPA because that typically gets overlooked,” said Wolken.
Alli Cohen, a public relations graduate of the fall 2016 class, has had two internships since, with hopes of locking a job. Cohen was a public relations director at the Capstone Agency on campus for two years before landing an internship with Adult Swim in Atlanta that lasted three months’ post-graduation.
“I moved to Seattle two weeks ago for another internship and I’m hoping the company will hire me after,” said Cohen.
Taylor Neuman, a graduating senior earning her degree in telecommunications and film, has had seven internships throughout college. The internships did not lead to job offers, but they helped her create content for her reel as a reporter and learn from experiences to where she had everything she needed to apply for jobs.
“You really have to somehow make yourself stand out or else you won’t get hired. You also should make sure you have enough content to show to future employers on all spectrums so they can see what you’re capable of. It’s not easy but starting early is the best decision,” said Neuman.
Neuman received an offer from wvns 59 News in West Virginia as a reporter and multimedia journalist. She applied for the job on with no connections to the news station. Neuman gave rising seniors a valuable piece of information for their application process.
“Reach out to everyone, make as many connections as possible. Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Someone you’ve met in your past that you kept in contact with may be the way into your future job,” said Neuman.


Networking night for student-athletes at UA

The University of Alabama’s Athletic Department hosted a networking night through its D.R.I.V.E for Success program on Feb. 17. The event was dedicated to current junior student-athletes receiving mentorship from former student-athletes.
“What we are trying to do it somewhat fulfill part of our mission and that is to help people be productive and successful in life after graduation,” said Doug Walker, the associate athletic director at UA.
Students who attended the event had the opportunity to debrief business professionals who appeared such as Leslie Claybrook, assistant commissioner for the Southeastern Conference; J.C. Ranelli, president of J.C. Ranelli and Company, Inc, and Atokie Boman, investment advisor representative for Primerica.
“It’s about more than just the competitive and educational aspect, it’s part of a broader life skills program. It’s almost like a trial run for interviews, which is golden at that stage of life. The event is one of the most important things we provide for the student-athlete welfare,” said Walker.
D.R.I.V.E helps young student-athletes prepare for what to expect from a job interview, master their elevator pitches and connect people with potential future employers. UA instills that networking is crucial in the job search process with statistics proving that 80 percent of jobs are established through knowing someone.
Local and regional businesses like to hire student-athletes and Ranelli was blown away by the group of athletes in attendance.
“A lot of things are built around attitude and a lot of these things depend on what you put into the event itself. They could have long-lasting benefits, but the results aren’t evident right away,” said Walker.
Many aspects of networking go behind creating an event like D.R.I.V.E. The Athletic Communications Department has many tentacles attached to a lot of different people and places that they take advantage of for networking events.
“It’s making connections with those businesses and continuing to build on those relationships. There’s invested interests for the businesses to be a part of that so keeping that relationship going is a big part of the success because you want to bring quality people to meet with these young people to give them a chance to get seen and discuss possibilities with them,” said Walker.

Nittany Lion turned capital J Journalist

Steve Hennessey always dreamt of the day he would write for a well known publication. Little did he know, a simple phone call to that publication would land him a job four months later. Now, Hennessey is living the dream in the concrete jungle.
The New Jersey native was born and raised in Norwood, 20 miles north of New York City. Hennessey wrote for the sports column of his high school newspaper and continued writing at Pennsylvania State University, where he studied journalism.
“I knew from a young age that it was always something I wanted to do,” said Hennessey.
Hennessey landed a paid internship with the Bergen Record in New Jersey as a sophomore in college. When his junior year approached, Hennessey decided to cold call Golf Digest, his dream company that was a stone’s throw away. Hennessey finally heard back four months later with an offer for an unpaid internship. Hennessey politely declined due to it being unpaid and already having a job with the Bergen Record.
“They reached back out to me the following January with a full-time freelance position. I went in for an interview and got the job, I started working for them a couple weeks after graduation,” said Hennessey.
The now, associate editor of Golf Digest writes two blog posts a day, edits, manages the Golf World account on Twitter, golf digests social media acounts, manages golf course ratings and creates the table of contents for the magazine.
“Don’t take yourself seriously and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to ask a question or two you would be too intimidated to ask because you might get the best answer from it,” said Hennessey.
Hennessey’s words of advice landed him the coolest job any aspiring sports writer could dream of. He named one of his favorite interviews with Justin Thomas, a Crimson Tide alumnus.

Orthodox Jewish couple rolls their way to Tuscaloosa

Hosting over 30 Jewish students on a weekly basis comes second nature to Rosie and Rabbi Kussi Lipskier. The couple started a Chabad house at The University of Alabama in August 2015 and have impacted over 100 Jews on campus since then.

Rosie and Kussi were born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, in orthodox Jewish households. They both were involved in a Chabad community when growing up and always had a strong interest in someday starting their own Chabad house in a college town like Tuscaloosa.

“There are between 700 to 1,000 Jews on campus, and we have met about 135 of them so far,” said Rosie Lipskier.

Chabads philosophy is meaningful Judaism with joy based on intellect. Chabad is a Hebrew word that stands for wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Reaching out to every single Jew was the goal for Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain.

“Hitler wanted to hunt down every single Jew with hate, Chabad’s mission is to hunt down every Jew with love,” said Kussi Lipskier.

There are 4,000 Chabad houses worldwide and they are all self-run, self-sufficient and self-governed. When the Lipskiers initially moved to Alabama they raised money from friends and family. The couple raise all the funds in-house from donors, alumni, parents and friends.

“I feel that Judaism is a beautiful way of life, it’s not this religious doctrine with do’s and don’ts, and Shabbos is my favorite because I get to tune everything out,” said Rabbi.

Throughout the school year, the Chabad house hosts Shabbat dinners on Fridays, bagels and lox on Sundays, chicken soup hotline for students who are sick, girl’s night, religious study sessions, cooking club and high holidays such as Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

“I was skeptical about coming to Chabad at first, but now I am there almost every Friday for Shabbat,” said Samantha Kellman, a junior at UA.

Jewish students are gradually finding out about Chabad through word of mouth, get on board day and social media. Chabad is a place to gather with fellow Jews when you’re feeling overwhelmed with school or are craving a delicious home cooked meal prepared from scratch by Rosie Lipskier.

“Everything is unconditional, come as you are, there are no conditions and no rules, we meet you where you are,” said the Lipskiers.

It’s Storytime

On April 4th, 2016 baseball fans were left speechless. Trevor Story made his debut for the media streamed headlines about his seemingly immediate success story. The Rockies shortstop grew up in Irving, TX, which made this phenomenon hit us so close to home. The rookie also attended North Lake while he was a senior in high school for duel enrollment courses. He broke home-run records no one else has before, five home-runs in his first four major league games. This kid’s journey is pretty incredible; he spent five years in the minor leagues before getting his shot at the big leagues and now he is the best hitter in the league. It gets even better; his mom is the CEO of Irving Cares and is the kindest hearted person you will ever meet. Of course with a job like that it comes with the territory. When asked about her son, she will drop anything she is to speak about him. A proud mother indeed. When the home-run hitter is back home he helps out with the local community and isn’t letting all this fame get to his head. He and his family remained to stay humble throughout all the media’s attention and he even showcases his appreciation to his fans on social media. Good Morning America quoted Story saying “I’m not trying to hit home-runs, it just happens.” I sense a bit of humble-bragging there, don’t we all wish we were as talented as him though? To top it off his gear is already at the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown N.Y. This hometown hero is writing his own “story” when it comes to all of his success.

Story remains #humbleandkind


Mom knows best..

Welcome to the big leagues Story!


Who do you look up to?


“That would definitely be my dad, he’s a self-made philosopher, he’s read so many good books, Plato, Aristotle, The republic and he loves thinking about the world. I was home schooled so while my mom taught me all the basics my dad taught me all the amazing things that came to his mind. He is so smart and he really changed my life. I look up to him he is the person I really want to be and that ability of his to see the world so clearly and be able to explain the tough books he read to me is really amazing.”