Students in the Journalism and Media Studies Department were urged to have good work ethics, develop their natural talent, and be coachable as they step into the work world of broadcast media.
On Oct.15, as part of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters @ JSU Job Fair, professional broadcasters from Mississippi radio and television stations talked to and interviewed students in media production and multimedia journalism and gave them advice and feedback on their broadcast career aspirations.Tim Walker, general manager at WTOK in Meridian, urged students to consider getting their professional start at the small market, community-minded stations in Mississippi. Walker, who has 46 years of experience in the broadcast business, said his station, which is the second oldest in the state, takes pride in giving young people a start. “Small markets like you have in Mississippi are places where people can get in and learn by trial and error. We get the opportunity to shape their early years, and they get to move on to do great things,” said Walker.
Galean Stewart James, who chronicled her various producer positions at a local station before becoming news director at WDAM in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, told students that their career dreams are possible. “As one of many people who continues to dream, I tell you that whatever you put your mind to and be willing to learn and be coachable, that you too can accomplish whatever dream you set forth,” James said.Dr. Elayne H. Anthony, chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said: “It was a pleasure to see so many professionals from around the state of Mississippi at the MAB Job Fair. Students in the department were introduced to them and then given one-on-one sessions with all professionals in attendance.”
Anthony, who is secretary/treasurer and the only educator on the MAB Board of Directors, added: “Students were able to discuss job opportunities and internships with general managers, owners, and news directors. It was a great day in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.”
Ramona Alexander, vice presidnet and general manager of FOX40, shared that the number of people of color who are general managers in this country is small. “At last count, there were three African American women who are general managers in the country,” according to Alexander. “I’m from Jackson, and I sit before you, and I can tell you anything you want to do is possible if you’re willing to put forth the energy, listen and be willing to be mentored,” stated Alexander.Mike Neelly, general manager at WAPT-TV in Jackson, told students who are considering a career in the media to find their passion and to do their best at every job. He said his station is committed to serving the community and fulfilling the First Amendment. Along with their natural talent, Neely stressed that work ethic and coachability would be necessary to succeed in the industry. He added: “Always do the best you can in everything you do, and I guarantee good things will come to you.”
In addition to Alexander, Stewart, Neelly and Walker, the panel of professionals included: Derek Rogers, general manager WCBI, Columbus, Mississippi; Jerry Jones, general manager, WTVA, Tupelo, Mississippi; Eric Head, director of engineering, WAPT, Jackson; Charley Jones, assistant news director, WLBT/WDBD; and Torrez Harris, On-Air Anchor, iHeart Media (95.5).
Amanda Fontaine, executive director of MBA, also was on hand, and she said the event was a great opportunity for Mississippi broadcast professionals to meet students and recruit them for job openings at their stations. Her advice to students was to be professional, have questions ready to ask, and know the stations they are interested in pursuing employment.
Students like Kharynton Allen, a multimedia journalism major from Kirkwood, Missouri, took advantage of the opportunity to interact with the broadcast professionals. “The MAB event at the Mississippi E-Center was very informative. It was a great experience to network, and I look forward to what will happen in the future. I got a chance to speak with (Mr. Harris), the representative from iHeart Media, and it turns out we went to the same high school,” she stated.
The Mississippi Association of Broadcasters is one of the nation’s leading state broadcast associations. With 100 percent of Mississippi TV stations and 85 percent of Mississippi radio stations as members, the MAB represents the Mississippi broadcast industry in Washington and at the state and local levels. It has also been representing and serving Mississippi radio and television since 1941. MAB serves as a catalyst on national and state issues, in matters affecting the broadcasting industry through a close working relationship with state and federal legislators, the FCC, and other important parties.