Keys to Success in Journalism

Local and national journalism experts visited Texas Southern University today to offer their unique insights on the current state of modern journalism.

For the last 25 years, TSU Communications Week has focused on delivering pertinent information to its students through open dialogue sessions in the form of 1-hour panel discussions.

Moderated by Professor Sandifer-Walker this panel included heavy hitters in journalism today such as Vernon Loeb – Houston Chronicle managing editor, Melinda Spaulding – VP of TSU Advancement, Monique O. Maden – Miami Herald breaking news reporter, and Roshanda Tate Billingsley – Houston Defender Network.

The panel’s focus centered around what it takes to achieve success in the world of journalism.

“I love the news and you need to have that kind of passion for it,” said Emmy award-winning journalist, Melinda Spaulding. “Our skills are intersecting now and as a journalist, you’re expected to have basic skills on every platform.”

Spaulding, Howard University alumna, also mentioned the importance of networking and becoming a familiar face because most employers hire people they know and are comfortable with.

“There’s a credibility to what we write,” Vernon Loeb said. “Just because newspapers are dying it doesn’t mean journalism is. Journalism is incredibly vibrant and is one of the few jobs that search for the truth. The key to success in this field comes down to two important characteristics: work ethic and attitude.”

Loeb, whose resume includes various writing and editing jobs for the Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer also extended an invitation to knock down his door at the Houston Chronicle for internship opportunities stating how eager he is to groom young professionals.

“Aggressiveness pays off,” Roshanda Tate Billingsley said. “You actually can do it all you just need to carve your own path.”

According to Billingsley, there’s a major importance placed on catching the readers interest without inputting your personal opinions.

“Always do your research,” said Monique O. Maden of the Miami Herald. “Never stop reading, never stop learning and most importantly don’t be shy”

Maden is known as being the first reporter to break Trayvon Martin’s story and commented on the importance of relationships stating that she only found out about Trayvon through his uncle who she had interviewed previously because they were both students at Miami Dade College.


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