Editors met one-on-one with college seniors at the 2019 News Leaders Association Conference, giving them insight into the shifting media landscape and helping them prepare for entry into an industry that needs them enthusiastic and educated.
Ball State University students covered the NLA conference sessions with a full multi-media online report. Mentor editors helped students learn the art of networking and career connections.
“These are the kinds of connections that builds a lifetime of networks,” said Juli Metzger, a former editor and publisher and now a Ball State associate lecturer, who introduces students to hiring editors every year. “Editors need a pipeline of hires and our students are among the best in the country. It’s been a great experience for students, for me and for editors. The NLA members are among the finest journalists in the country and that’s the company I want my students to be in.”
Here is what students had to say about the experience.
My mentor was Dennis Anderson, Illinois State editor, Gatehouse, and Editor, Peoria Journal-Star. Dennis met with me numerous times throughout the conference and answered any questions I had for him. He looked over my resume and offered tips where it needed improvement as well as praise. Dennis also helped me talk through different strategies for my cover letter and how to let my personality shine through in it. Overall, the conference experience along with the connections I was able to make, made it an unforgettable experience.
Summer Moore, digital project manager for GateHouse Media, brought my attention to my future. She was a wonderful mentor, and I’m grateful for her expertise. We talked about networking, something I’m admittedly needing improvement in. It gives me the confidence to embrace the search for a job with more intentionality. I wish I could just stumble upon the right job, but is anyone that lucky? Summer and I had attended quite a few of the same sessions, so we were able to discuss what we’ve picked up on so far. I’m especially interested in generating revenue, for my college magazine revising its advertising policies. I hope to continue chatting with Summer and learning from her expertise.
Mark Baldwin, executive editor of the Rockford Register Star, was a great resource for me as a mentor editor. Attending the News Leaders Conference was an entirely new experience for me and naturally I felt intimidated by the vast lineup of incredible editors and journalists. Meeting Mark the day before the conference really helped alleviate my pre-conference anxiety. We discussed my background in journalism, why I chose Ball State for my undergraduate education and opportunities in the Midwest and elsewhere. He also went the extra mile and introduced me to other editors he felt would be useful for me to speak with regarding my goals, internship opportunities and jobs. A lost ship being guided through a sea of ambition — that’s how I would summarize my experience of having Mark as my mentor editor.
I connected with Thomas Koetting, deputy managing editor for the Milwaukee Journal. We spoke Monday afternoon about my interest in journalism. It seemed like time passed by quickly during our discussion, and I was pleased to find we had some similarities I wasn’t anticipating. Tom made me feel comfortable to share my story—something I feel like is critical to being a great journalist. He introduced me to a few people at the conference, and he is helping to connect me with Indiana newspapers. I loved talking with him, and I look forward to meeting more of his colleagues.
My mentor was Autumn Phillips, managing editor of the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. Autumn shared with me her path to becoming a managing editor. Like several editors I’ve talked with, it was not a straight path.