Post Classifieds

The Future of the Media

By Dashawn Ricks, Raquan Thomas, Danielle Walker and Brianna Mahone
On January 24, 2018

Panelists included:  Karyn Thomas, Bridgette Condon, Tap Money,
Jose, Steven Starks, Brian Dawson, and Dan Barkin (not pictured)

(Raleigh, NC)  It was a day of many questions, and students got an ear full at the 2017 Career Day Discussion Panel held on Oct. 31, 2017.  The event was sponsored by the Shaw University Career Development Center and the Communications and Arts Division.   Media experts included:  Karyn Thomas, station manager of the Raleigh Television Network; Dan Barkin, managing editor of the News & Observer; Mikaya Thurmond, reporter for WRAL-TV; Bridgette Condon, sports reporter for ABC-11; Tap Money, program director and afternoon host for FM Foxy 99 and 107.7 JAMZ;  Brian Dawson of Radio One; and two Shaw graduates: Comedian Jose`and Steven Starks, film director.   These media experts provided the real deal and discussed the hard facts of the business.            

Students kicked it off by asking a barrage of questions like:  Do you think online articles will take over print one day? Will we continue to see a need for newspapers? Which courses should we be taking to prepare for our field?  How do you protect your brand while you’re building your business? and, Do you still have a passion for what you’re doing?  Panelists were thrilled to share with the thirsty students who were attentive and eager to get answers to assist them in their pursuit of their dreams.

“Every year during homecoming we look forward to the mass communication homecoming panel discussion, and this year we had some great speakers who gave us knowledge about the real world,” said MCO junior Danielle Walker.  “I enjoyed it thoroughly and I now feel a little more prepared and excited about my career decision.”

 All of the panelists admitted to having butterflies and being doubtful when they first started. “I just remember grinding and being busy all the time,” responded K99 program director Tap Money.  “It wasn’t easy and I worked a lot of late night shifts.”  Tap Money didn’t  just finish college and get the dream job that he wanted.  He had to climb the latter by paying his dues.

“I have a passion for what I do.  I learned the craft, but I also had to prove myself; then people started to pay attention to what I could offer,” he said.  Tap Money was born in Brunswick, New Jersey, so he was heavily influenced by radio legends such as Kool DJ Read Alert, Chuck Chill Out, Kenny Spyder Web, Vaughn Harper, and Frankie Crocker, all legends in the business.  Tap Money credits his mentors at Winston-Salem State University, his alma mater, for his journey in radio.  He started right on campus, gaining popularity on the student-produced station WSNC FM 90.5.

Another hot topic discussed was social media.   Comedian Jose’ made it clear that “social media is a good platform; however, it has to be used properly.”   Jose’,  who has been featured on BET, HBO and Comedy Central,  stated that what you post on the internet may never be deleted (it’s out there forever), and social media is a big part of how you brand yourself.

In that same serious tone, Dan Barkin, managing editor of the News & Observer, crossed his arms and let out a sigh of relief.  “It’s refreshing to hear these questions,” he said.  I get these types of questions… even in my department… these are questions a lot of us ask ourselves.   If I’m being honest with you,  yes,  social media has evolved and has really skyrocketed the need for digital articles, but as long as there is a demand for print, we’ll keep making it.” 

Barkin is a veteran from the News Observer, so he has seen a lot of changes over the years.  He stated that when he gets an intern or a person that’s interested in a job,  the first thing he does is check their social media pages.   Barkin checks to see how a person carries themselves.  It’s not always a bad thing either.  He wants to see if they network and who they network with, if they are involved in the community and how many followers they have.

Reporters Mikaya Thurmond of WRAL and Bridgetter Condon of ABC-11  also made it known that if you feel “some kind of way” about a situation, you should first think before offering your opinion.  Also if you tweet, make sure it’s appropriate and cleared with your media establishment to voice your opinion.  Some journalists have been fired for tweeting and posting on their personal accounts because of clauses in their contract that don’t permit it.

Karyn Thomas offered advice to eager students wanting to hit it big right out of the gate.  “You must work hard to get there, you have to go through the stages,”  she said.  “Everybody’s going to have their own path and it just depends on how you go by it.  Thomas was an intern at WRAL as a student at North Carolina State University and worked her way up at the station.  After many years in the business, she now works as station manager for the Raleigh Television Network.

Another concern of students was the grueling schedules that most media experts have to maintain.  Brian Dawson offered a firm piece of reality:  “I get up early, like wee hours of the morning, and I go to bed late!” 

Students let out a few “Ooos" and “Aaahs” and media experts chimed in to say “get ready; it’s no cake walk!”  Dawson went on to say, “as a radio personality, you wear many hats.  You have to be on-air, but you also have to do community and promotional events.  Those appearances create your brand.”

The discussion ended on a high note with the experts posing for pictures and exchanging contact information.

This was a great way to have fun, educate students and motivate future journalists, said senior DaShawn Ricks.  “I can’t think of a better way to get a peek at the outside world than to have Shaw graduates and professionals share their stories.”

‘Knowing that every speaker walked in these same shoes just gives me hope that it’s attainable.  Anything is possible… I just have to go get it,’ said Brianna Mahone, a junior pursuing a career in public relations.

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