Excellence in Journalism conference

From Sep. 7-9, HCC students attended the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, CA. The annual conference is where students are able to meet professionals in print, radio, television, and digital media. There is an exhibition hall and lectures concerning just about every aspect of modern journalism. While most conferences allow people to network with others in many positions, the EIJ conference is unique in that companies there actually conduct job interviews and hire people right there.

The EIJ conference boasts that there are around 1000 job openings advertised and available at the conference. NPR has jobs at various offices around the country, and even some possible internships in the Tampa Bay area. Facebook, Google, Cox Media Group, Fox News, Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN are all hiring. CNN does something interesting, they set up their booth as an actual newsroom. They then have candidates give an actual news report while spectators watch the live interview. Even companies that are not hiring right now talk to students and other professionals so people are able to make connections in the industry.

Michael Bireley, a digital multimedia student on the Ybor campus hopes to get a job from the connections he made. He “can’t thank the school enough for giving [him] the experience of a lifetime.” Bireley currently has a radio show named “The Michael Show” on Hawk Radio Wednesdays at 1 p.m. One can tune in live at https://www.hccfl.edu/hawkradio.aspx and can also listen to archived shows.

The sessions this year focus on what journalists are experiencing in today’s news climate. There are many panels discussing immigration and multiculturalism. Some are even conducted in Spanish. Social media is also a hot topic and one workshop discusses how journalists can use it to their advantage by live streaming or even posting personal items to make viewers and readers feel a stronger connection.

Most organizations give awards during conventions, and EIJ is no exception. This year, there are three recipients of Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting awards from the National Endowment for Financial Education. The radio winner is Leonda Inge from WUNC North Carolina Public Radio. Her winning piece was on the recent publicity given to black-owned banks around the country. The Digital/Online award was given to Richard Eisenberg of PBS Next Avenue for his piece on the difficulties that arise with belongings of people when they die. Michelle Mortensen and Sarita Kichok of KLAS are two-time winners for their 8 On Your Side program in the television category.

The Radio Television Digital News Association gives two lifetime awards, the Paul White Award and the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award. This year’s recipients are Lester Holt of “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” and Jake Tapper, of “The Lead” on CNN, respectively.

Next year’s conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, from Sep. 27-29. Go to excellenceinjournalism.org for more information. For those not interested in journalism, there are conferences for just about every field where people can network and find career opportunities.