A group of students from the School of Journalism and Electronic Media took a trip to Atlanta during Spring Break to network and meet with professionals from a variety of media companies.
The three-day tour of companies included both traditional outlets and new media companies that work in the fast-growing field of esports.
The JEM students were members of the Society of Professional Journalists and/or part of The Volunteer Channel (TVC). Faculty and staff on the trip included JEM Director and Professor Catherine Luther, Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media Stuart N. Brotman, and Video Production Specialist Clint Elmore.
JEM alumna Amy Corn (JEM ’88 and CCI Board of Visitors member) hosted a group dinner at Barcelona and helped facilitate several stops on the tour. She is a corporate communications executive who has worked with several multi-billion dollar companies during her career.
The tour started Monday, March 18, with a visit to Axis Replay, an entertainment and event facility that specializes in esports. The facility, opened in 2018, hosts video game events and high-tech conferences.
Additional video game tour stops included Hi-Rez Studios, an independent game developer responsible for indie hits like Smite (2014) and Paladins (2016), and Skillshot Media, an esports tournament operator and production company that is a subsidiary of Hi-Rez. UT alumnus Nicholas Bashore (JEM ’16), a senior community manager for Skillshot, talked with the group during the visit.
The JEM group also visited several public relations and international communications companies including: the Arketi Group, a PR and digital marketing agency that builds strategy with business-to-business technology organizations; Porter Novelli, an international PR group; and Cox Enterprises, the global conglomerate that also includes Cox Communications and Cox Media Group.
No communication tour of Atlanta would be complete without a trip to the CNN World Headquarters, where the group met with UT alumna Tori Blasé (JEM ’93 and Emeritus member of CCI’s Board of Visitors), who is CNN supervisor and executive producer for the Anderson Cooper Show. The JEM group also stopped by CBS 46, the Atlanta CBS affiliate.
“My goal was to allow the students to understand the varied ways they could apply the knowledge and skill sets they have been learning in our school,” Luther said. “All of the media firms the students visited provided valuable insight into their organizations and tips on how to secure a position upon graduation. I am so grateful to our alumni members Amy Corn and Tori Blasé for using their connections to make arrangements for our visits.”
JEM student and Campus News Editor of The Daily Beacon Gabriela Szymanowska said the trip really broadened her perspective of where her journalism degree could take her after graduation.
"The trip to Atlanta was an amazing opportunity for us to network and open our minds when it comes to being journalists,” Szymanowska said. ”During our courses, we get this set idea of what careers we can go into. For me personally, I am now rethinking my career path in a more creative way, possibly going into marketing where my love of writing and photography can still play a huge part in what I do."
The visits with professionals reinforced the importance of tailoring resumes and cover letters to the specific needs of employers. It also allowed students to make connections that will help them find a career path when they graduate.