Newspaper experience leads to success

Jasmine Fleming Editor-In-Chief [email protected]

When I finally decided to be an English major my senior year of high school, I went from feeling assured to panicked. I also didn’t want to be the stereotypical English grad with no job prospects due to a lack of marketable skills.

After a little research, I found an article stating the best way to gain experience as a writer while in college is to write for a campus newspaper, and without that type of experience, finding a job is nearly impossible.

So, with categories such as location and cost on my list of considerations for picking a university, I also added a strong campus newspaper to the list. Those qualifications led me to UNA.

During my freshman year, I went from student writer to staff writer, and I received the position of online editor for my second year. This led to my promotion as managing editor in my junior year and my current position as editor-in-chief in my senior year.

One misconception I’ve noticed while working at the paper is that there are only positions for journalism majors, but that simply isn’t the case.

In the 2016-17 year, the editorial staff has also included English, education, art, biology, public relations and sports management majors.

What these students have realized is  writing and communications skills are not only beneficial for writers like me, but  they are also necessary for almost any career.

Bentley University conducted research last year to see what the top sought-after skills are from employers in all areas. The top answers were:

1.    Business development

2.    Big data skills

3.    Decision making, collaboration and mentoring (which can include communication and critical thinking)

Interestingly, all of this training is available at The Flor-Ala. The business development team works to provide the funds for print and digital production, which easily meets the first category.

This department, in addition to the editorial and photography staffs, also meets the third. From interviewing sources to leading writers or other team members, the staff positions at The Flor-Ala provide opportunities to develop as a leader and solve problems.

The second category might seem like a stretch, but even that is available at the paper. We’re currently considering a new website provider and would be interested in building a WordPress site from the ground up if only we had someone with the background to do so and help us maintain it.

In addition, The Flor-Ala’s staff positions offer scholarships, and some give additional stipends, unlike the many unpaid internships in these areas.

These positions offer many other skills, such as design software and video production, which employers will appreciate.

When I interviewed for a marketing internship with UNA Dining, one of the first questions my interviewer asked concerned my abilities with Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Before The Flor-Ala, I wouldn’t have known what those programs were, and I used at least two of them regularly while working with UNA Dining.

Although I’m still searching for a post-graduation position, I worry a little less because of the experiences I’ve gained at, and because of, the newspaper.

While students may be busy with full course loads and other work, the chance to build experience while in school won’t last forever, and without those skills employers want, a job might be hard to come by.

So, for those returning in the fall, send an email to [email protected] I can inform students of the many  opportunities here and how to get started, whether that be as an editor, writer, graphic designer, advertiser, photographer or videographer.

There are a ton of opportunities. All we need are hardworking students to take advantage of them.