The Shop Talk panelists take a break from discussing the challenges facing journalism to focus on the benefits of belonging to professional development groups that focus on news reporting.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton said such groups help students as well as professionals. She said some of the groups raise money for student scholarships and they give young reporters a chance to network with veterans.
Crighton also said journalists benefit from getting together to learn and network. She said conferences help break up the daily grind of working odd hours and digging for stories.
Panelist Will Buss said it’s good to brainstorm with others in the field and learn how they’re dealing with various challenges. He said they’re all pulling in the same direction, even if they’re competitors in some respects.
Buss said he attended conferences when he was a student at WIU and soaked up as much information as he could.
Panelist Rich Egger agreed that the face-to-face networking is sometimes just as valuable as the sessions at conferences. He said it’s helpful to hear about the challenges others face and how they’re dealing with them.
Egger said membership levels are down in some groups and fewer journalists attend some of the conferences. Crighton thinks that’s because many newsrooms now have smaller staffs and some stations no longer do news at all.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.