Allow me to preface this entry with the statement that in five years I do not envision myself as a print journalist. However, I do understand that writing and creating reader-friendly and remarkable stories will always be a piece of my career.
When meeting with Dave Thomas of Nielsen Company, Ketchum Public Relations, Flemming Meeks of Barrons, Michael Botein of New York Law School, Associated Press, and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, it was made very clear that writing skills are a must in the media business, yet there are numerous other qualities which are attractive to employers. When asked about their hiring processes, all organizations defended their stance that connections, personality, and drive are the most essential components of a desirable employee.
Of the past few days, I most enjoyed meeting with Saatchi & Saatchi advertising. When walking into their main office, a potential client would be swept off their feet into the breathtaking views of the New York City skyline and forget about the woes of their business plan. However, the consultants at Saatchi & Saatchi understand that when presented with a marketing scheme, they must start on a strategic side and address the objectives, issues, and creative challenges of the organization before planning an advertising campaign. I loved the setup of the creative suites which allowed for open communication between employees to bounce ideas off of one another. The environment of Saatchi & Saatchi seemed to address community holistically, making it an organization I would trust in the future—as an employer or employee.
The day wrapped up when two of my roommates, Stephanie and Hannah, and I were blessed with a lifetime opportunity to meet with Sean Hannity of Fox News. Now, I may loose some audience right off the bat when I mention his name, but I do believe that no matter what political stance one may have, there were valuable lessons to be learned from our experience. Due to the nature of the airplane crash that day, Sean’s taping of his television show was delayed so that it could have live coverage. This meant that we would have less time with him, yet we could see the behind-the-scene nature of producing a live broadcast of breaking news. Upon entering the building and receiving our credentials, Sean’s assistant Elise brought us up to the recording studio and gave us a brief tour of that floor of the building. She was very interested in our tour and repeatedly made the statement that she ‘wished she would have had the opportunity to take part in a study tour such as ours”. We were then ushered into a green room where the guests of the show were being miked-up and made-up. We met pilots, witnesses, firefighters, Wall Street journalists, stock brokers, a professional blogger, author of new book American Grit, a colleague of Don Imus’ and employees of Fox. We chatted with the guests of the show until we were able to meet Mr. Hannity. When walking into the studio I was surprised at how expansive it was. He immediately walked up to us, made us feel welcome, shook our hands and took an interest in our lives. We had prepared multiple questions, none of which we were able to ask due to the easy conversation which flowed regarding our trip and his genuine interest in our career goals. We then watched the rest of the show and enjoyed the company of the guests. We were exposed to multiple career opportunities pertaining to broadcast media and left with many contacts and ideas for our futures. The most enjoyable part of the evening came in the form of a picture with Mr. Hannity when we were all exiting the studio. I had insisted on wearing towering heels, and when combined with all six feet of my natural height, the end result was a picture of the girls, Sean and I--soaring a whole head above him.
To wrap things up, I am inspired by the students on this trip who feel that journalism is their duty to society, and am also inspired by the students who believe other forms of communication are their calling. All the professionals we have met with agree that if you are not happy in your job, it is not for you and that in order to succeed you must want to go to work every morning, regardless what criticism you receive from others or the obstacles in your way.