Be educated in the world of journalism

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Though you may not be the least bit interested in journalism, media, or a Communications major, it is still important that you have a basic knowledge on how to deal with related issues surrounding these topics. Topics such as interviews, media, and journalism can save someone's career. Without this knowledge, a person could make the simplest mistake ruining their career, reputation, or both.

It doesn't matter if you come from a large city, or a small town, your future career and experiences could force you into a situation involving media exposure. Like Aaron Thomas, son of legendary Ed Thomas, for example. Thomas was a small town graduate of Aplington-Parkersburg, and went to college to become a future educator himself. Little did he know that the murder of his father would throw him into the world of journalism, involving unexpected public conferences following the event. Without the basic knowledge of journalism, and a background in communication skills, this task would have been very difficult for Thomas to accomplish. He stated in his speech at the Iowa College Media Association Conference on February 5, 2011, that watching his father handle the press due to the tornado taught him how to handle the publicity that followed his father's death.

Another small town citizen that wasn't looking for a career which involved journalists, or media, was chief of the astronauts, Peggy Whitson. Whitson was someone who had a dream of becoming an astronaut after witnessing mans first steps on the moon, but has never enjoyed the publicity that is accompanied with such an accomplishment. Recently Gabrielle Giffords, wife to astronaut Mark E. Kelly, was shot in the head. Kelly was to fly on a 2 week mission in April, but due to the circumstances was forced to make a decision on whether to follow through with the mission, or stay behind with his wife. After Kelly took time off training to be with his wife, another person was training for his position. It was Whitson's decision on who would be a part of the team for that mission, and recently she decided that Kelly would be the safest decision. This event caused many interactions with journalists and the media, and if Whitson wasn't instructed on how to handle these situations with the press then she could have made one simple mistake shattering her career.

Journalism skills are not only for people who are pursuing a future in Communications. Having certain skills as these, and a basic knowledge in the Communications department, will allow people to be able to handle these situations at any given time. You never know why you could have this type of situation on your hands requiring this specific knowledge, it could be because of an unexpected death in your family, your job, or something that happens specifically to you. Are you ready for that day, because if not now is the time to become prepared. Take a journalism class, do some online research, interview someone that has the experience, regardless now is the time to become educated.


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