The Department of Digital Media & Journalism hosted an engaging alumni panel discussion and Q&A on navigating the media field, moderated by Associate Professor and Chair Gregory Bray ‘00 (Communication and Media), to close out the spring 2023 semester.
“It feels good to know that the classroom is a pipeline for our graduates to have meaningful careers,” he said.
The New Paltz alumni in attendance shared with future graduates about the tools they acquired during their time at the University, and how they’ve parlayed those into successful professional roles in media.
“I started out editing promos as an intern for Viacom and whether I was doing that or editing my current film work, learning Avid helped me understand the editing software I use now,” said documentary filmmaker Clark Slater ’12 (Communication and Media), who mastered the video editing software in classes with Bray.
A major theme of the day? Success comes for those who persevere, and this is especially important in media.
“You need to be humble and hardworking at all times,” said Lakendra Stith-Allman ’10 (Communication and Media; Spanish), an editor for ESPN. “As you work your way up, you have to know when to ask questions and know when to look for the answers yourself.”
“Even though your first jobs may not be ideal, you’re still going to find that as a steppingstone to keep going.” Alanna Gill ‘20 (Digital Media Production), a technical operator for News 10 in Albany, New York.
Panelists built contacts and portfolios early on, which had a monumental impact on their careers.
“It’s important to have clips wherever you can get them,” said Kaitlyn Cordero ’17 (Digital Media Production), an education reporter for Politico who started out writing for local Hudson Valley newspapers. “When I decided to pursue journalism, I started freelancing and had enough clips that I could take with me to a full-time job.”
Current students benefitted from having successful alumni in their midst as they prepare for their post-graduation journey.
“It’s nice to hear from those with similar experiences to yours that while there will be hurdles once you graduate, you will make it,” said Mack Baird ’23 (Theatre Arts; Digital Media Production), who aspires to go into film or television production now that she has graduated.
Following the panel discussion, attendees were treated to a showcase of the year’s best work from the University’s Center for Student Media, which includes the student newspaper, radio and TV station, and a keynote from successful animators Joy + Noelle, who have lent their talents to companies ranging from Nickelodeon to Facebook.
Additionally, Digital Media & Journalism Professor Emerita Lynn Spangler was recognized for her decades of contributions to the department and its programs.
Media Day was sponsored by the Department of Digital Media & Journalism, the Media Society and Campus Auxiliary Services.