What is the value of students attending a professional conference? On October 10th I had the pleasure of leading a discussion panel on “How to produce Television News” at the Illinois Broadcasting Association’s (IBA) conference located at Loyola University’s Campus in Chicago. Ten University of St. Francis Communication and Media Arts students also attended the event.
I believe there is great value to having my students attend conferences and to enter their work in newspaper, radio, television and web competitions. Students learned how their work compares to students from other Universities across the state and country. At IBA, students had the opportunity to attend a job fair and network with potential employers. In addition, they attended numerous sessions relating to broadcast news, programming, web development, promotions, public relations, sales and marketing. The panelists were working professionals who offered advice on how to prepare for working in the industry. Students learned from experts in the field including producers, broadcasters, news directors, sales personnel etc.
During my thirty-seven years at USF, I have taken students to a number of conferences to destinations such as Dallas, Las Vegas and Washington D.C. Some of the more valuable conferences ones were sponsored by the Broadcast Education Association, the National Communication Association, the Society of Professional Journalist Association and the Collegiate Press Association.
These out of classroom experiences allow students to network with professionals and broaden their perspective about how to best prepare for their future careers. I’m looking forward to taking another trip with my students during the spring term.