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 goldworld.com.
“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 indeed.com 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.

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.