Students host media panel

By Holly Grimm
Contributing Writer/Spectator

A group of young media professionals, along with the student leaders of Edinboro University’s campus media, gathered on Thursday, Feb. 12 to discuss the impact of social media on journalism and public relations industries today and how to prepare for the real world and getting a job.

The panel, which was held in Compton Hall on Edinboro University’s campus, was being used as a helpful forum for students looking to go into the journalism, public relations or communications field. This discussion was put on by the leaders of the campus media organizations, such as The Spectator, WFSE Radio and ETV, with the help of PRSSA, the campus’ public relations group. 

“I am extremely proud that they were able to put together an event of this caliber on a topic that is so important to their futures,” said Tony Peyronel, the chairperson of the department of journalism and public relations. 

Katie Close, a graduate assistant at Edinboro University, as well as a member of the University’s PRSSA chapter, was the mediator for the event. She asked questions to the three professional panelists, Glenn Thompson, Sarah Stemen and Maura Sirianni, as well as the three leaders of the campus media organizations, Logan Lilly, Jade Hilliard and Drew Patrick. The questions pertained not only to current professionals, but the students at the university looking to go into the field of journalism. 

Social media was the main topic of the night. Close asked what the biggest effect social media is having on today’s journalists. “Twitter makes everyone a journalist these days,” said Sirianni, a multi-media journalist for Lilly Broadcasting and WICU. Glenn Thompson, of the Butler County Radio Network, followed up on that saying “Can you grab someone’s attention in 140 characters? That is one of the biggest things with social media today.” 

With social media, and technology in general, becoming so prominent in our everyday lives, one would imagine that it starts to replace face to face interactions. “A majority of my interviews and stories come from over the phone, or through email,” said Stemen, an online reporter for The Erie Times News. “But hands down the best interviews I have ever had with someone was face to face. You just can’t beat them.”

When preparing for going out into the real world, interviewing, and hopefully getting, a job, college students are always looking for something that is going to make them stand out over everyone else. “It is all about building your skill set and presenting yourself as the whole package,” said Stemen. “For me it was an easy transition.”

The students that were on this panel also had some things to say about getting ready for applying for jobs and entering the real world. “Be involved,” said Logan Lilly, editor of The Spectator. “Be able to tell a future employer, ‘I learned it, but I also did it in college.’”

Thompson seemed to agree with both Lilly and Stemen adding that “The more involved you are in college, the better. Be able to make yourself as broad as possible.” 

This panel was designed to help students succeed as they near the end of their college career and who are getting ready to enter the working world. There were a good amount of students to attend from the journalism and public relations department as well as the communication studies department. “I thought [this panel] was very helpful and I think that students benefitted from it,” said Lauren Washington, a junior double major of public relations and criminal justice. “I also think it was a great networking opportunity for everyone.”

Holly Grimm is a contributing writer for the Spectator. She can be reached by