I was only a sophomore when my magazine professor, Carol Holstead, told me about the American Society of Magazine Editors’ internship program. I was only eligible the summer after my junior year, and I spent the following year working toward the internship.
So when I received an email last March saying that I had gotten the internship, I was ecstatic (in fact, I burst out into tears). A few weeks later, I found out that I’d be spending my summer in New York working at ESSENCE magazine, a publication for African-American women.
Last summer was by far the most incredible experience of my life, mostly because the editors didn’t treat me like an intern. I worked in the entertainment and books departments of the magazine. I wrote book and movie reviews, did Q&As with celebrities and readers, and I attended a variety of press events and movie screenings – both with and in place of my editors.
Needless to say, I am beyond ready to return to New York. I’m planning on moving back to the city after graduation to (knock on wood) land a position at my dream job – ESSENCE magazine.
Taylor Lewis ~ Journalism senior studying news and information and Spanish
Working on The University Daily Kansan advertising staff has been one of the best experiences of my life. Not only has it provided me real-life job experience, but it has also given me a wide web of connections to previous and future UDK employees.
So far I have been on the ad staff for two semesters and worked as both a marketing specialist and a classified account executive. As a marketing specialist I was part of a team that designed promotions and strategies to get people reading the paper. As a classified account executive, I sold all the ads in the classified section. The two jobs have been beneficial to both my personal and professional life.
Before I took this job, I was very shy about talking to new people, but now I am completely comfortable walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation. In addition, I have learned to deal with difficult people and to solve complex problems on the spot.
The best part about working at the UDK, though, might be the sense of family it provides. Even if I’m not working, I love going in to the office and hanging out with my new friends.
Megan Ryan ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication, minor in psychology
Journalism 101 Media and Society presents students the opportunity to explore all facets of the field. This introduction to the J-School provides a crash-course in media issues, future journalism careers and current events.
I took JOUR 101 the first semester of my freshman year. We discussed current events and the role communication professionals played in each one. For example, if we discussed a company going through a public relations nightmare, we analyzed the situation and what public relations practitioners were doing to solve the problem. If a magazine journalist wrote a controversial story that caused a stir, we discussed that as well. These real-world examples demonstrated the importance of both news and information and strategic communication professionals.
In addition to these discussions, we had several guest speakers that told us about their careers. I still remember one speaker in particular. He was a KU alumnus working as an advertising executive based in California. As he described how he helps clients solve problems and develop campaigns on a daily basis, I realized that advertising was the path for me.
JOUR 101 exposed me to all segments of journalism and allowed me to narrow down my professional aspirations. Not bad for an intro-level class!
Nicole Nunes ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication with minors in business and psychology
The second semester of my freshman year, I joined the University Daily Kansan photo staff. I was the photo editor of my high school yearbook, but joining a college photo staff initially intimidated me.
I photographed lectures, performances and anything else relating to student life at the University. In March, the Kansas women’s basketball team qualified for the Sweet 16, and I got to go to Des Moines, Iowa, to photograph the game, which was only the second basketball game I had ever photographed.
The experience was incredible. Not only did I get to take pictures of the women’s team, but also basketball legends Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and Baylor’s Brittany Griner.
This fall I’ve had the opportunity to travel for Kansas football and basketball games and photograph the president of Colombia, who’s a KU grad.
I never thought I would have any of the opportunities that I’ve already had as a sophomore. I’m confident that by the time I graduate I will have a portfolio and the experience to do whatever I want with photojournalism. Without being involved in student media, I don’t think that would be possible.
Tara Bryant ~ Journalism sophomore studying news and information
When you are working on your passion, your job doesn’t seem like work at all. I discovered what my passion was by working on something that I wasn’t passionate about whatsoever.
For the first two years of college, I thought I wanted to be in front of the camera reporting news. When I received the news that I got an internship at CNBC, I was thrilled. After a few weeks, however, I discovered that I wasn’t looking to report the news at all; I was interested in working more directly with clients and team members. This is how I discovered I really love marketing and public relations.
After my first week in strategic communication classes at the J-School, I could not wait to learn more. I even was lucky enough to score an internship on a marketing team with six other interns this year. Not only do I get to work with a bunch of people I enjoy, but I get to do the things I love to do. Whether I am working on social media or discussing advertisements and commercials for the company, I am thankful everyday that I found what I am truly good at, and what I truly love.
Maggie Clark ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
This past summer I interned with Propaganda3, a digital production company in Kansas City, Mo. I worked closely with the CEO and president, writing technology-themed blog posts and reviewing apps for the company’s blog. I received an immersive education on the digital industry, witnessed the company’s hiring process and attended workplace meetings.
Having an internship is extremely valuable and the advantages have extended far beyond simply adding one more thing to my resume. I further developed my skills in communication, time-management and adaptability, while getting the feel of a real workplace atmosphere. Not only did I get to gain skills applicable to what I want to do in the future, but I actually provided a service for the company. I was fortunate enough to be welcomed into a workplace that measured my progress, enhanced my skill set and actually cared about how I was doing. I was a part of the team.
Working closely with leaders in the company has connected me to many other business owners around Kansas City. The networking opportunities that come from having an internship will end up making a tremendous difference post-graduation, particularly in the web development sector that I’m interested in!
If you have any questions about my internship or want to see my portfolio, you can find me at natparker.com.
Natalie Parker ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication and global and international studies
Graduating in four years with two distinct degrees may sound nearly impossible. However, with careful planning, it is an efficient way to attend college and fulfill all of your journalism requirements. I came to college planning to major in journalism with an emphasis on strategic communication and the intention of ultimately working in public relations. Later, because of my interest in psychology, I decided to major in it as well. I was worried that having two majors with two sets of requirements would be overwhelming, but that has not been the case.
Get to know your advisers. They can help you figure out a schedule that works for you and satisfies the requirements necessary to obtain both degrees. My journalism advisers are incredibly knowledgeable about both the journalism classes and the requirements I need for my psychology degree. My course load is not too heavy. By taking 15 hours every semester, I’m on track to graduate in May 2014 — right on time.
Although my ultimate career goal is strongly related to strategic communication, I’ve found that there is relevant overlap between my journalism coursework and my psychology coursework. Many of the principles essential in designing effective messages are also relevant in the world of psychology, which makes my double major both interesting and worthwhile.
Julia Chasen ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication and psychology
The Journalism Advising Office is an excellent resource. My journalism advisers have been incredibly knowledgeable about all of my course requirements — not just my journalism course requirements. On multiple occasions, I have stopped by my adviser’s office to ask a quick question, and I have never been disappointed. Plus, the journalism advisers are really friendly and truly care about they students they advise.
Of course, it helps to demonstrate initiative when meeting with your advisor. By having an idea of what classes you’re interested in taking and what classes you need to take, your advising appointments can be much more worthwhile. You can ask questions about internships and ways to graduate with honors or satisfy various requirements.
Instead of simply figuring out what to do for the next semester, the journalism advisers will help you create a graduation plan so you can make certain you will graduate on time. By ensuring that you will have completed all of the requirements and the prerequisites for the classes you need, you can increase the likelihood of having a balanced schedule each semester. Additionally, creating a graduation plan can help you avoid taking unnecessary classes. Journalism advisers are always eager to help.
Julia Chasen ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication
Everyone has that one teacher who they really connect with, that one teacher who will go above and beyond to help his or her students. Journalism Lecturer Kerry Benson is that teacher for me.
Benson taught my Media Writing class my sophomore year. This is one teacher who truly cares for her students. At the end of my semester in her class, my home caught on fire, killing my uncle who lived with us at the time. I had to go back home for a week to help my mom with all of the arrangements that needed to be made.
We had several assignments due before the semester ended, so when I went to Benson to tell her that I would be missing class, she told me that I did not need to worry about deadlines anymore, that I could finish things on my time, and that if I couldn’t complete an assignment, we would figure it out together. This meant more to me than I think she will ever know.
Because of the great kindness she showed me during my time of need, Benson will always be my favorite teacher I’ve ever had, both in the J-School and at KU.
Megan Ryan ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication, minor in psychology
I came to KU with two passions: medicine and writing. I had dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor, but I also wanted to take classes that would improve my writing skills. At my first visit with a KU career counselor, I was pleasantly surprised to find I’d be able to follow both of my passions if I majored in journalism and followed the pre-medicine track.
I interned at the Shawnee Mission Medical Center during my senior year. As the hospital’s marketing and communications intern, I wrote news releases and articles for local news media including the Kansas City Star, helped promote special events, and collaborated with hospital departments to create informational materials.
My internship gave me the opportunity to combine both of my interests in medicine and writing in a real-world, professional setting. I owe my preparation for this experience to the skills I learned in my journalism classes and from my outstanding journalism professors. The J-School opened new doors that allowed me to follow my dreams. Since graduating in May, I’ve followed my dreams further and I’m working on Cerner Corporation’s health care marketing team.
Lindsay Ullyot ~ 2012 graduate in journalism strategic communications and science
Working at the student-run newspaper has been one of the best experiences I have had at the University of Kansas. It has given me the knowledge and confidence I need to move on to professional papers.
Last semester, I was a copy editor for the University Daily Kansan as part of the Advanced Editing class in the J-School. As with any advanced journalism courses, this one required a lot of work, but the main focus of the class was to help out with the newspaper. During one week, I would have a 3-hour afternoon shift and an 8-hour evening shift. Working with the paper was time-consuming and at times stressful, but I learned so much about copy editing over the semester.
Editing can be much harder than it sounds. Not only do you have to read over every story for grammar and style errors, but you also have to cooperate with the reporters in cutting and reworking stories to make them the best they can be.
The skills I gained helped me to get a job working as a copy editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press this summer, and I’m excited to learn even more about the business there.
Sarah McCabe ~ Journalism senior studying news and information and English
I worked in a small office, so everything I did was important to the organization’s success. I wrote thank you letters to donors, created Facebook advertisements, made promotional materials, and helped execute a major breast cancer awareness event.
I found out about the internship on the J-School’s online internship and job database. The J-School Career Center posts internships and jobs there almost on a weekly basis.
Whether you’re earning class credit or getting paid, I encourage everyone to do an internship. The J-School Career Center is the place to start.
Wylee Shofler ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
Both clubs have meetings twice a month where they invite professionals in the industry to talk about what they do and answer students’ questions. These meetings are great networking opportunities, too.
My favorite event with these clubs is the annual agency crawl. The crawl consists of four tours of major advertising and public relations agencies in Kansas City.
Being involved in these clubs gives you an edge against other students and adds something that is very impressive to your resume.
Plus, you get to hang out with students who are interested in the same awesome jobs you are.
Wylee Shofler ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
Even with everything you learn in getting a journalism degree from KU, there are some things you can’t learn in a classroom.
It was the first day of my internship at WOWT Channel 6 in Omaha last summer and I was ecstatic to be the only news intern at the station. I knew I’d be getting hands-on experience but I didn’t know I’d be getting so much of it so quickly.
On my first day the reporter and I were called to a bank robbery in South Omaha. The suspect had fled to a house in North Omaha with the money he’d stolen, so we went to check things out.
I figured the police would just bust down the door, go arrest the suspect, and that’d be that. But when we got there, it looked as though half of the Omaha Police Department was stationed around the house, all heavily armed. It was intimidating, seeing police officers run around with guns but it was exciting to see it all up-close while helping report what was going on.
When my mom called to ask how my first day was I left quite a bit out because if you’re not a reporter yourself you don’t understand that there’s some danger that can come with being in the field. But that’s half the fun; it’s a rush, and, getting that experience was something I’ll never forget.
Laura Sather ~ Journalism senior studying news and information and English
I have a love of theater. My grandmother introduced live theater to me at an early age and since then I’ve been involved in numerous productions. However, I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about my on-stage skills. Thankfully, I have a second passion — writing.
These two traits make journalism perfect for me. Sophomore year I was looking through the J-School’s Career Center and found an internship posting for the Theater League of Kansas City. My passion for theater must have been evident in my cover letter because I got an interview and subsequently landed the position. My internship at the Theater League then led to my current job as the marketing assistant at the Lied Center of Kansas, KU’s on-campus performing arts center.
These two opportunities in arts administration helped me discover exactly what I want to do with my degree. Everyday I get to plan promotions for live performances and my work is something that I genuinely believe in.
I’ve found no matter what your passion is, there is someone out there who needs help promoting it. The J-School makes it possible for a student’s passion to be an important part of their education, and hopefully, their future careers.
Elise Poston ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
A large benefit to multicultural students pursuing a degree in journalism is the Journalism Multicultural Scholars Program (JMSP). This program provides academic advising, financial support and career development opportunities to journalism students from diverse backgrounds.
As a scholar, a scholarship is awarded based on how many years you have participated in the program. This scholarship goes toward your tuition.
Once a month, there is a meeting where all the scholars meet and learn about new topics or participate in a group activity. Previously covered topics include resume writing and interviewing. Previous activities include agency tours, newspaper office tours, community service, and theatre performances.
JMSP also financially supports scholars who pursue academically-focused endeavors outside of school. Additional scholarship requests can be made for study abroad, professional development conferences, and more.
In my time as a JMSP member, I have had the opportunity to meet award-winning journalists, receive a scholarship to attend the Martin Agency Student Workshop in Richmond, Va., and build relationships with some of the most ambitious multicultural students in the J-School.
The JMSP is an opportunity current and future journalism students from diverse backgrounds should definitely take advantage of.
Amber Jackson ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
Journalism students at KU are lucky to have a career center located conveniently in 120 Stauffer-Flint. The Journalism Career Center can help students no matter what stage of the job search they are at. Whether you are exploring different journalism career tracks, needing your resume polished, or seeking help with a cover letter, this is the place to go.
Students can set up appointments with the Center throughout the week or stop in during walk-in periods.
After an initial visit, they may suggest setting up a follow-up appointment a few weeks later to discuss more options and review edited resumes and cover letters.
The Center’s website is also a great resource. Here, students can link to the J-School’s online listing service and find journalism internships and jobs.
The Center also hosts a career fair every spring. For a list of past participating companies, click here.
Personally, the career center has helped me tremendously in starting out on my own career path. The advice I received was up-to-date, specific and has given me much needed confidence while applying / interviewing for professional jobs.
Kaitee Tyner ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
Kyle Craig is a KU J-School alum with quite the resume. After attending KU, he went to Harvard Business School where he graduated and launched his career in advertising and marketing. Craig has seen both the agency and client side of big accounts and managed multiple brands including Burger King and Einstein Bros Bagels.
Click on the video below to see an oldie-but-goodie Craig worked on for Burger King.
When he came to my advertising class as a guest lecturer, I hoped he would show me the light, give me the secret, or at least ten simple steps to becoming an advertising phenom. Instead, he talked about a topic that sometimes gets pushed under the rug: leadership.
According to Craig, leadership is the ability to motivate a group of people to perform above their perceived capabilities to achieve a shared goal. He taught me that a leader doesn’t need to create a vision, but just recognize it.
More importantly, whether you’re a leader or individual, you will never learn anything in your comfort zone. Stepping outside of what you’re familiar with is how you grow, develop and connect the dots that lead to creative visions.
Craig’s guest lecture opened my eyes to good leadership. He is just one of the many successful J-School alums I look forward to learning more from in the future.
Ellen Reinecke ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
During the 10-week internship, I wrote articles for five issues of the magazine, sorted through winners of a home remodeling competition, wrote blurbs about projects, edited pages and wrote captions. I also accompanied the editor on a kitchen remodel photo shoot and wrote an article about the project. For one assignment, I sorted through dozens of press releases to find the most impressive kitchen and bathroom products. I then emailed companies for photos and wrote descriptions for each product.
It was amazing to see how a real magazine functioned. What was more exciting was seeing my printed work and knowing people were reading it. Because I was able to learn a little bit about a lot of things, I got everything out of the internship I had hoped for.
Taylor Lewis ~ Journalism junior studying news and information
With finals week upon us, I can’t help but to think back to a final my sophomore year. Something seemed strange when I found myself sitting outside my journalism classroom, waiting for the final to start, and nobody else was around me.
I considered all possible options, then, a sudden urge of anxiety paralyzed me. Did I mix up the time of the test? I sprinted to the nearest computer and discovered the worst — the final I thought was at 4:30 had already occurred at 1:30.
Frantic, I emailed my professor, Denise Linville, and pleaded for her to let me take the final. She was incredibly understanding and I was able to take the test in her office, where she helped me relax and focus. That’s the thing about KU’s journalism school; the professors are genuine, caring and have a passion that is unique to the J-School.Professor Linville is one example of the many helpful and experienced professors who truly invest in the futures of their students. With Professor Linville’s help, I not only got an A in the course but learned to double check the times of all my future finals!
Lauren Hipp ~ Journalism junior studying strategic communication
The advanced media classes I have taken on the news and information track have provided me with irreplaceable experience within the framework of undergraduate coursework.
During the past two semesters, I have worked for KUJH-TV, first as a reporter, and now as an anchor and producer. My post-graduation job search has taught me employers want one thing: experience. Because of my work at KUJH-TV, I have just that.
Working in broadcast is a continual learning process, but that’s the best part about it. I can stumble over my words on air or make a poor editing mistake, and I don’t get fired. I am able to learn new things and improve each week in class to gradually work up to the professional skill level that employers seek.
Two years ago, I would have never imagined working toward a profession in TV news. I have always been a storyteller; I just never imagined that I could apply that passion to school and eventually a career.
Thanks to the experience I gained while working for KUJH-TV, I am prepared, confident and simply cannot wait for my broadcast future beyond the KU J-School.
Ann Wilson ~ Journalism senior studying news and information
PRSSA Day offered everything from resume workshops to a career fair. I think I can speak for the students that attended with me; guest speaker Spike Joneswas not only entertaining, but also inspiring as he urged us to continue pursuing careers in strategic communications.Members of KU PRSSA get to experience these amazing opportunities, meet with professionals one-on-one, and build networks that could last forever.
When I joined KU PRSSA my junior year, I had no idea what opportunities it could give me just by attending a meeting. As president now, I hope that KU PRSSA continues to give the same experience to future students as much as it has given me.
Virginia Downing ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
When the chance to work for the iconic brand Victoria’s Secret was presented, I jumped at the opportunity. I work as a brand advocate for Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line and my job is to promote the brand, and its products, on campus through fun and innovative events and social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
In this position, I have provided insight on the brand’s target audience and contributed to the success of VS PINK’s Collegiate Collection. I have met and established relationships with VS PINK’s corporate team members and campus representatives from other universities, too.
As a student following the strategic communication track, I utilized the marketing and advertising curriculum in the work I conducted for VS PINK. Looking at the brand’s target audience, I find the best way to reach out to college women on KU’s campus and how to get them excited about VS PINK’s products.
Working for VS PINK has been a great learning and growing experience. The chance to learn and work with industry professionals from a distinguished brand and with the up-and-coming talent from the nation’s top universities has truly shaped my knowledge of and experience as a marketing professional.
Amber Jackson ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
Image credits: Amber, left, with fellow VS PINK representative Amanda.
I remember enrolling at KU and having to select a major. As a high school senior, I had no clue what I wanted to study, so I selected journalism thinking I could always change my mind later.
After a year on campus, the J-School became my home. The following three things really made me feel welcome here:
1. The Professors
At the J-School, the professors are journalists with real-world experience. Thanks to this experience, they have pride in what they do and are beyond willing to share insights and advice with students.
2. Adaptive Classes and Resources
Because this is a time of rapid change and constant communication, the classes at the J-School are continually adapting to fit current trends. Our intro courses teach the basics of everything, and no matter which track you choose, you’ll be prepared for both—something that gives us an edge in today’s job market.
3. Campus Media
As soon as you set foot on campus, you can become involved with the J-School. Through the University Daily Kansan, KUJH-TV or KJHK 90.7 FM you can gain hands-on experience tailored to fit your interests. Various media and professional clubs are also available as great student resources.
Amanda Roberts ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication
My experience at the University Daily Kansan was one of the best I’ve had at KU. I was an Account Executive for one semester on the advertising staff. It’s great experience to have on your resume and I have received multiple internships because of the knowledge I gained. As an AE I was responsible for managing clients and meeting sales goals through the development of strategic ad campaigns.
Once you’re hired, you have a weeklong training in sales, pricing and being successful at the job in general. The staff is split into groups of six, called zones. Each zone has four AEs, a Creative who designs the ads, and a Zone Manager who manages the group. The Business Manager and Sales Manager lead the ad staff and are always available to give you advice. On the last day of training, all the sales people receive a client list, which was the most exciting part.
One of the best things about working at the UDK is you earn commission on what you sell. This was great for me because I didn’t have time to have another job.
If you are considering working on the UDK advertising staff, I highly recommend it.
Wylee Shofler ~ Journalism senior studying strategic communication