Tonight I attended the first Association for Women in Communications meeting of the school year. AWC is an organization on campus, mainly run in association with the journalism program, which focuses on learning about careers in the field of journalism and communication as well as strengthening our networking skills so we are better prepared to meet people when embarking on our career paths after college.
I have been involved with AWC since freshman year—which was two years ago, holy cow—and I am currently the secretary for the organization on campus. We are a relatively small group of women—about ten of us are regulars—and we are all exploring majors in the journalism school. We have girls studying news and editorial—myself included—advertising, media studies and broadcast news. The nice thing about this organization is that we build friendships and connections throughout the year that allow us to use each other for resources. For example, our president of the group, Brittany, wrote me a recommendation letter when I was undergoing the application process for the J-School. One of our former members lives in San Francisco now and works in PR, so she is another great resource for job recommendations in the field of journalism and mass communication.
(The girls and I watching the sunrise on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. We love supporting each other!)
(Here we are again in L.A. We had just met with a CU Alum, Susan, who works on creating and producing movie trailers!)
At our monthly meetings, we usually discuss current events surrounding journalism and explore ways we may become more successful once we are working in the field as well. At one meeting, we had a lady come in and talk to us about ways to “market” ourselves using social media. We also watched a series of videos on ways in which big newspapers, such as The New York Times, are using technology to engage with readers and “keep up with the times.” Aside from what seems like listening to boring lectures, we also plan local field trips where we visit news stations, newspapers, and Ad/PR agencies around Colorado.
Since the main aspect of the organization is networking, we do plenty of it! Beth, who is a VERY valuable person to know in the J-School, especially if you’re going into journalism, keeps up-to-date with all the alumni from the school. We use her to get contact information for some of the folks who have graduated from the CU J-School and are working professionals in journalism—both locally and nationally. Which leads to the BEST part about the organization: THE ANNUAL NETWORKING TRIP.
(Leaving our mark in the sand while in California and the famous water tower at Paramount Studios)
Each year, we plan a networking trip we go on in December over Christmas Break. The trips I have gone on while in the group include Los Angeles and Washington D.C. While on these trips, we set up meetings with mostly CU alum, but also other people in journalism willing to talk to us and spend the entire trip asking these folks about their jobs and usually getting a tour of their workplace and other perks. While in Los Angeles, we got a personalized tour of Paramount Studios from a producer who graduated from CU. He took us on the set of Happy Days (from back in the day), Dr. Phil, Community, and yes—GLEE. It inspired me to live out my fantasy and begin singing and dancing right then and there. I do that a lot. Anyway, that was a HUGE highlight of the trip. When we went to Washington D.C. last year, we met with Tom Costello, reporter for NBC news (Today Show and Nightly News), and got an exclusive tour of the NBC set, including the set of Meet the Press. Tom is ALSO a 1997 graduate of the CU Journalism School. He used to report for 9news in Denver until he became a bigwig. He is, however, the most humble and down-to-earth guy and took a group of eight ladies around for the day before getting on a plane to work on an assignment. I am proud to say I have his business card and broadcast scripts he wrote. This only means I am ONE step closer to meeting the love of my life—Brian Williams—a colleague of Tom’s. :)
(Here is our group with Tom Costello, a CU grad of the J-School in 1997. I am trying my hand at being an anchor at NBC News!)
Our group is open to other majors outside of journalism. Basically, it is a great way to learn networking skills and see if you have any interest in working with journalism or communication in the future. You can simply attend our monthly meetings if you are unsure before committing to the annual networking trip. When most of you start coming to CU, as I know you will, look for AWC and if it sounds like something you might be interested in, come to our meetings! I promise you will earn HUGE bragging rights with your friends after you attend. :)