Category Archives: Students

Nicole Gaddie on AAJA National Convention: ‘… exhausting, but also rejuvenating’

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Nicole Gaddie (far right), a recent graduate of Seattle University, with Yazhou Sun, a recent graduate of Boston University, left, and KJ Hiramoto, a student at the University of Washington, at the AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. earlier this month

Nicole Gaddie, a recent graduate of Seattle University and a AAJA Seattle student member, attended the  AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. earlier this month. She is a recipient of the Founders Scholarship, which provided registration and a travel stipend. She shares her convention experience in this post. 

It’s hard to explain the importance of face-to-face interaction. Some call it networking. I call it building relationships.

That is exactly what happened at the AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. I formed relationships with people I never guessed I would meet.

We spoke about the industry, how they rose to their current jobs and what motivates them to continue in their profession. The entire week was exhausting, but also rejuvenating.

As a recent graduate, my days were primarily spent at the job fair where a multitude of prestigious companies were represented. ESPN, NBC, FOX, Gannett, Reuters, Bloomberg, WSJ and Sinclair were just some of the big name media companies with booths.

When I wasn’t speaking with recruiters I attended convention-hosted workshops. Topics ranged from vocal training to media diversity advocacy. One of my favorite workshops was focused on data visualization. It took place at NPR’s headquarters (a place I had always dreamed of visiting) and after the session I was able to tour NPR’s facilities.

I won’t say that I landed a job at the convention, but I did make an enormous amount of connections and friends that I know will benefit my future career.

One of my favorite memories took place in the lobby of our hotel, where I stayed up until 5 a.m. with ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor David Ono, MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui and Comcast Sportsnet editor Cameron Kim talking about the future of journalism.

Overall, it was a great experience that I will never forget. I would like to give a big shout out to my AAJA Seattle family who prepped me for convention. I couldn’t have taken advantage of all the opportunities without help from friends like Sharon Chan, Lori Matsukawa, Chris Casquejo, Peter Sessum, Mai Hoang  and many more.

To all those thinking about attending convention next year, do it. It is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my professional career.

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Congrats to our 2014 Northwest Journalists of Color Scholars!

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Founders Scholarship winner Sandi Halimuddin: “I finally feel empowered and ready to take the next step”

 

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Sandi Halimuddin, left, and AAJA Seattle president Mai Hoang at the AAJA Scholarship and Awards gala, which was held during the convention.

Sandi Halimuddin, 22, graduated earlier this year from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism and international relations and previously interned at The Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly. Halimuddin was the recipient of the 2013 Founders Scholarship, which covered the cost of registration and travel for the 2013 AAJA National Convention in New York. In the coming weeks, Halimuddin will return to New York in the next month for an internship at the World Policy Journal

As part of her scholarship, Halimuddin shared her convention experience for AAJASeattle.org. 

When I first heard about the AAJA Convention in New York, I was terrified. While my mentor (former AAJA National President) Sharon Chan described the event as a fun networking and learning opportunity, the thought of shamelessly self-promoting myself in front of well-established people in the journalism industry made me nervous. As a recent grad looking for an entry-level reporting job, the career fair, workshops and networking events are excellent resources, if not a bit daunting. Luckily, AAJA Seattle chapter members gave me great advice on how to make the most out of the annual convention.

First, my mentors encouraged me to come prepared. In addition to preparing an elevator pitch, resumes, business cards and a website with clips, it’s important to do your homework on the companies at the career fair. Sharon encouraged me to do research on media companies, their notable work and current job openings. Speaking with recruiters at the career fair was easier and more meaningful when I showed knowledge of the company and asked specific questions. While working the career fair may not immediately lead to a job, I found that speaking with recruiters helped me gain a better understanding of what my goals and expectations are.

Second, my mentors recommended that I meet as many people as possible. At big events such as these it’s too easy to hide in the corner, tweeting at celebrities and friends. While I had my share of awkward moments standing in the middle of the room looking for someone to talk to, I found that reaching out to people is not as frightening as it seems. Most people at networking events are genuine, friendly and eager to speak with people who are equally as passionate about journalism. Developing connections with fellow convention attendees is a good strategy to establish your presence in the industry, find mentors and learn from people you respect. It’s also comforting to have fellow journalism friends to keep in touch with throughout and after the convention.

Finally, my mentors in the AAJA Seattle chapter insisted that I follow up with recruiters, editors and fellow journalists I met during the convention. While it might be hard to stand out in such a busy and well-attended convention, a prompt and thoughtful follow-up letter or email goes a long way. Even if there are no current job opportunities, showing initiative and establishing relationships with people in the industry can be helpful in the future.

While I was initially hesitant about attending the AAJA Convention, I’m so glad I went this year. I met a lot of wonderful, helpful people at the convention and gained more confidence navigating the professional world. I also now have a more realistic understanding of the possibilities in the journalism industry. Following the AAJA Convention, I finally feel empowered and ready to take the next step in shaping my writing career by moving to New York City this month.

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Media mentors needed at Ashoka Seattle’s Tech Start event on Saturday!

Ashoka Seattle is doing a Tech Start for college and high school students, Saturday, Oct. 12 and is looking for news media people to serve as mentors.

Here are the details:

Who: Young people (ages 16-24)
What: Engage with young changemakers as they design a high-fidelity mobile app to solve a social issue.
Where: Impact Hub Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S., Seattle
When: October 12, 9am-4pm

For more information about Ashoka Seattle’s mission, vision and approach, click here.

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Convention stipend available for one student through AAJA-D.C.

For any students out there who would like to attend next month’s convention in New York, the AAJA D.C. chapter has one stipend for a student member available. The stipend will cover the cost of registration for the national convention next month.

To apply, please submit your résumé and include a statement (500 words max) answering the following questions:

1. What do you hope to gain from your experience at this year’s convention?
2. Describe your involvement with AAJA.

*All recipients will be asked to submit a brief summary of their experiences for our website.

Please email your applications by Friday, July 26, 5 p.m. eastern time, to Seung Min Kim: skim@politico.com.

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