Mass Communication Discipline Meeting Notes
Nine faculty members and an administrator from metro area colleges
participated in a questionandanswer session with three panelists
from media organizations.
The topic: Are our students being prepared for today's media
The panelists were:
Wendy Paulson, Program Director for WCCOAM Radio in Minneapolis
Barb Kuklock, VP of Human Relations for Public Relations firm Padilla,
Speer, Beardsley in Minneapolis
Peggy Bakken, Managing Editor for the Sun Newspapers of the
Suburban Twin Cities
Here are questions I asked the panel participants:
What are the similarities and differences between the interns and
young hires you've seen in the past few years and the interns and
hires you saw 10 years ago?
From a professionalskills standpoint, are they better prepared for
your particular workplace, worse or the same?
How do you think your own standards for new hires have changed
over the past few years? What are you looking for now that you
weren't a few years ago?
Which skills do you think are the strengths of these interns and new
hires? In which skill areas do you think they are underprepared?
What could we change in our approach to journalism education that
would better prepare our students for media careers?
What is the one thing we could tell our students while they're still in
school that would put them on the right path to win a job with your
Generally, the panelists are pleased with the preparation of students
they are hiring as interns or entrylevel reporters and writers. These
students have strong writing and Web design skills and are more
confident in their skills than students were a few years ago.
They were surprised at the low level of familiarity their hires have
had with what actually goes on in a newsroom or PR firm, and
suggested students have more opportunities to visit media
In informal conversations after the session, faculty reported they
enjoyed the session and hoped more would be available in the
They would have liked to have spent even more time with panel
Mark Plenke, facilitator
Normandale Community College