February 19, 2009

What would you tell a college student today? Michigan State seeking talking alumni

Yesterday I was invited to join the annual Michigan State University Student Alumni Networking Luncheon to talk with current students how attending MSU has benefited me in my professional career.

I know what I learned at Michigan State University - in class and out - contributed immensely to my career. I still believe in the journalism program. But there's no way I could tell a student to expect to follow a career path like mine.

Jane Briggs-Bunting, dean of the journalism school, says today's "college students will be tomorrow’s innovators and leaders in reinventing the news business."

The school's web site continues:
"Storytelling is now done in a variety of formats using text, photos, video, sound slides, hyperlinks, graphics, maps, databases and more. Deadlines are 24/7, 365 days of the year. J-School students are learning the skills needed to thrive in this warp speed news environment. We call it Journalism 3.0."
So let's see - text and photos would have been on the list when I went to MSU. Storytelling, too.

So if I could go to the lunch, I would share this advice with students:
  • Keep learning. When I started, computers filled rooms, not pockets. Phones were attached by wires within something solid - a phone booth, a house or a business. Publishing a book required a printing press, not just determination, skill and knowledge. We don't know what others are creating and what tools will become available so it is important to find a way to learn what's happening outside the newsroom and your closest community.
  • Be flexible. There's no way to know where you will end up because the jobs you may do may not be invented yet.
  • Love telling stories. There are all types of stories to be told. Some hide in data. Some hide in process. Some hide in people. Storytellers enjoy drawing out the pieces, making the connections and replacing their findings with a tale others can remember.
By the way if you need another reason to go you can hear MSU gaduate Bob Fish, CEO of Biggby Coffee, speak. (His first store was in East Lansing, earned his degree from MSU in 1989.)

The event is open to all Michigan State alumni:

When: Saturday, February 28, 2009, 12 p.m. doors open
Where: Spartan Club in Spartan Stadium Tower
Guest Speaker: Bob Fish, CEO & Co-Founder Biggby Coffee
Price: No cost for Michigan State Alumni

Interested? You can register online.

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