Thoughts on UT event, free offer to students
But perhaps not surprisingly, much of the discussion at my table -- each professional spoke with several groups of students one-on-one -- centered on advertising and being flexible in what could be a terminally ill industry.
As most folks that read this site know, I'm the content manger for all of Scripps' news(paper) Web sites. I know a thing or two about online ads through having served as the project manager for several ad-related projects including the launch of the much-vaunted Yahoo! APT application.
In my prior experience, I've found college communications students to have staunch, traditionalist attitudes towards journalism. So I came away from this discussion taken by surprise by each students' eagerness to learn the "business" side of the business. Several students expressed interest in going into online ad sales and Web marketing/public relations.
Those hardy souls that wanted to seek content jobs were also ready and willing to obtain the skills necessary for work with the Web.
Unfortunately, the only problem is getting those skills. There still don't exist classes at UT that teach Web design and development with a journalistic/communications focus (let me know if I'm wrong here). These types of classes are essential to building programmer-journalists that will finally bring this industry through the rapture.
Don't believe me? Just take a gander at the fine work being done by programmer-journalist/Jesus Adrian Holovaty or NewsMixer-wunderkind Brian Boyer. Both are fine soldiers in the war against the status quo.
I was a bit dismayed, though, at the number of students that still don't understand the value of having a personal Web site. At least two students asked me the same question: "How do I get a job in writing/online advertising/sales in a down market when nobody is hiring?"
Why, start a Web site of course! (You can also volunteer any of these services for a local non-profit. That's what I did in Boone for the Red Cross.)
But again, it appears that nobody is teaching these career-building skills in the various courses these students are taking.
- Strategies on how to market yourself to employers using the Web
- How to manage your online identity
- How to get started publishing on the Web
The best thing? I will do this for free for any UT students in the College of Communications and Information Sciences that ask.
And while I'm at it, I'll throw UT a bone, too, and offer to teach the following courses/workshops within any communications discipline:
- Basic Web development using Django: In which you'll learn how to create a basic blog application using Django (and the potential for more)
- Web terminology, or how to speak like a geek: In which you'll learn all of the vocabulary that will be tossed around in working with designers, ad folks, programmers and other denizens of the Web
- Search-engine optimization for media content: In which you'll learn how news and information content can be optimized for Google.
I won't say this offer is free, but I'm sure we can work a deal. It would be worth it to see students graduating into jobs that will save us all.
UT students and professors: Please feel free to share this entry around campus. Just use the handy contact form to get in-touch.
Let's start solving problems, and stop just talking about them.