SRU alumni and experts speak at Media Symposium

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Students, staff and community members got the opportunity to learn from SRU Alumni and media experts on Friday at the Media Symposium 

The panelists were present for both the noon and 1 p.m. sessions and took questions from those in attendance about their professions and how to succeed in media.  

About 40 students and community members attended the noon session to hear the panel speak.  

Welcomed on the panel were Charlie Slaight, a professional working in advertising sales and sales management; Jackie Previni-Muller, a professional working in media and public relations; Jim Trdidnich, current director of Baseball Communications for the Pittsburgh Pirates; Liz Herbert Archambault, writer/producer for multiple news stations; Mike McHugh, a former SRU professor and founder of the SRU Chapter of the National Broadcast Society (NBS); Paul Paterra, the editor of The Independent-Observer, the Mt. Pleasant Journal and sportscaster for the Trib Live High School Sports Network; Bill McChain, former broadcaster and address voice for the Virginia Tech Hokies; and Vicki Hoover, a former on-air announcer for multiple radio stations.  

Opening remarks were given from Jim Aronson, a 1986 graduate from SRU and the Chairperson for the SRU Media Hall of Fame.  

“[This event] is about giving back to you guys,” Aronson said.  

Moderator, Greg McAtee, a 1979 SRU was an inductee in the 2018 Media Hall of Fame.  

The panel opened questions to the audience to kick off the event, and Emily Heyn, a senior Integrated Marketing and Communications major asked the panel, “what steps led you to where you are today? 

Many of the panelists agreed that taking advantage of internships and opportunities were great steps to get their foot in the door.  

McChain said that getting on air and being heard is one key that led him to where he is today.  

“Smile on the radio,” McChain said.  

Former SRU professor McHugh not only agrees that students should take advantage of opportunities that arise, but that they should also pick the brain of faculty, volunteer with professors and be active in other organizations.  

Another supporting theme that emerged touched upon the struggles that the panelists encountered while they were entering their line of work.  

One of the biggest struggles for Previni-Muller was deciding where she fit in her line of work. 

“[I] had this notion of where I thought I’d fit,” Previni-Muller said. “Don’t go out hell bent on a particular focus.”  

Trdinich said that it is important to listen and learn from the experiences that are given to students.  

Along with trying to find their place in the media world, the panelists also talked about some of the rewarding experiences that they encountered.  

Slaight said that the greatest rewards came from the people that he works with, while other panelist members said that they feel the most rewarded from their work.  

Hoover said that receiving a “yes” is rewarding, but that students must be prepared for plenty of “no’s” too.  

“You better have a tough gut,” Hoover said. “We live in a time where people want instant results and it doesn’t work that way. It’s about being persistent.” 

Students who stayed for the 1 p.m. session could learn about tips to stand out against other interview applicants.  

McHugh said that going to work early and staying late are ways to go the extra mile and get noticed. He told those in attendance a story about how he got a ball at batting practice when he was 16 at Wrigley field.  

McHugh said that every other kid was yelling “here, here, here” and claimed that he needed a way to stand out among the crowd.  

“I yelled, “Mr. Williams will you please throw the ball to me.,” McHugh said.  

McHugh said that that it’s about going above and beyond to get noticed.  

Hoover and McAfee both prioritized networking to find business leaders while Slaight said that applicants should have an elevator pitch ready and follow up interviews with hand written thank you notes.  

The panelists expressed their love for their jobs and media and were thankful for the opportunity to talk to students.  

“I love it,” Trdinich said. “My worst days are still a good day.”  

McChain and Paterra both said that their love for what they do is about passion.  

“Paychecks aren’t the most important part,” Paterra said. “Make sure you love what you do.” 

Hope is a junior converged journalism major and entering her second year on The Rocket staff and her first year as Campus Life Editor. Previously, she served as Assistant Campus Life Editor and covered campus events, club events, along with concerts and plays. After graduation, she hopes to write for a city newspaper reporting on city journalism or community affairs.

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