Journalism students wanting to get a head-start on their job-hunting will get meet area media leaders at a daylong seminar Saturday at a called “Landing Your First Gig.”
The seminar, co-sponsored by the student chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Sam Donaldson Center, will feature editors and news directors from El Paso and Las Cruces media.
In addition to being on panel discussion, the editors and news directors will meet on-on-one with students interested in careers in print, web and broadcast.
El Paso Times Editor Bob Moore will be the keynote speaker. The seminar starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. in the Tomas Rivera Center in the Union East.
“The purpose of the event is to help students connect and network with who we refer to as the media titans of El Paso, from different publications here in town,” said UTEP Professor Dino Chiecchi, adviser to the NAHJ student chapter and interim director of the Sam Donaldson Center.
“Students can establish a relationship with them by networking and those networking opportunities, frankly, are what this business is all about so it’s a step in the right direction for our students,” Chiecchi said.
In addition to UTEP students, students from New Mexico State University and the Universidad Autonoma de Diudad Juarez have been invited to attend.
“It will be the first time that we get together – the three universities – so that will definitely be something memorable,” said NAHJ student chapter president Gloria Heredia.
Other speakers include KVIA News Editor Brenda de Anda-Swann and KTSM News Editor Elizabeth O’Hara, representing the broadcast segment.
Among the speakers on the print side are El Paso Times investigative editor Zahira Torres, El Paso Inc. Editor Wendy White Polk and Las Cruces Sun-News Managing Editor Sylvia Ulloa.
“I think all media will be represented and all these media have websites so that’ll be an element of the discussion,” Chiecchi said.
The news directors and editors will be available for students on a one-on-one basis to go over the students’ overall career goals, to receive and review resumes, cover letters and reels. They will also be there to provide feedback to the whole group.
Students are urged to update their resumes and get their reels together so they can provide the news directors and editors with their work for feedback.
Prior to the seminar, multimedia professors have critiquing resumes for students as well as cover letters.
“There are a lot of professors willing to check your resume and the students should have that ready by the day of the event,” Heredia said.
Students can pre-register for the event up until Feb. 10, and pay the $5 registration fee either through PayPal or at the door. Registration increases to $10 the day of the event.
“I’m not sure if we can make this any more reasonable for our students. They are getting a tremendous value for their five-dollar bill,” Chiecchi said.
Students will have the opportunity to check out computers in order to show editors their reels and resume. Students will need to bring their information on a thumb drive.
“You’re going to be able to check out a computer and just show the editors, the directors what you have to offer,” Heredia said. “I encourage students to bring their own laptops to the event. I think that would be the best thing, but computers will still be provided to those who would prefer to use them.”
It’s also crucial for people in attendance to dress professionally because first impressions will have a lasting effect. Both Chiecchi and Heredia stressed the dress policy for the attendees and to be at the location at 8:30 a.m., in order to get through the registration in a timely manner and checking out the laptops.
“Take advantage of this remarkable opportunity. I don’t know when it will happen again,” Chiecchi said. Like I said, all the area media titans will be in one place at one time, that doesn’t happen very often. They should jump on that opportunity,” Chiecchi said.
Landing Your First Gig Event:
When: February 18 at 9 a.m., to 3 p.m.
Where: Tomas Rivera Center in the Union East on the third floor at UTEP
Dress attire: Professional
What to bring: Resumes, cover letters, reels, USB
Cost: $5 for pre-registration, ten dollars at the door