October 13, 2011

Alumni Offer Insider Tips on Journalism & New Media Careers.

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In the short time since they graduated from Hamline, Maura Youngman ‘09 and Serri Graslie ’10 have made a splash in the world of journalism and new media. They’re back on campus for visits this fall to share their experiences and give advice to current Certificate in International Journalism students. 

Youngman is a new media strategist at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting where she manages the center’s online presence and social media networks. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. She might be working on video editing and web software, and she may meet with representatives from YouTube and the World Bank all on the same day. 

"I didn't know it while I was in the weeds of writing papers, cramming for tests, and late night breakfasts, but almost every single moment at Hamline helped prepare me in some way for my work in Washington,” Youngman said. “I'm acutely grateful for the experiences offered at Hamline particularly by the Certificate in International Journalism program and Communication Studies Department.”

Hamline’s Certificate in International Journalism program requires foreign language and study abroad components, as well as an internship. One of Youngman’s internships was just across town at the Twin Cities Daily Planet and the other took her to Edinburgh, Scotland to work in a magazine production office.

“Both experiences were eye-opening, intimidating, and exhilarating,” Youngman said. “Each day I call on the journalistic skills I learned during that time. My Hamline experience was also enhanced by the student newspaper The Oracle, an office where we experimented, made mistakes, succeeded, and made a valuable second home on campus.”

Hamline alumna Serri Graslie credits her work as editor of The Oracle in helping her to thrive in a whirlwind opportunity at National Public Radio. She was awarded a year-long, prestigious Kroc Fellowship that enabled her to work in multiple roles as show producer for “All Things Considered,” web content creator and producer, and reporter for both the national news desk and a member station in Connecticut.

“It was a really incredible experience. I learned more than I ever thought I would in a year,” Graslie said. “It was a great feeling to be part of such a respected news organization and to be held to a high standard where everyone trusts you to get the story right.” 

Armed with knowledge of the post-college working world, both Graslie and Youngman have invaluable advice for students looking to pursue careers in journalism and new media. Graslie, who was an anthropology major at Hamline, found that being a self-starter served her well during her fellowship. Beyond the work she was assigned to do, she pitched story ideas of her own, which not only impressed her supervisors but also resulted in the opportunity to report a number of stories on air.

Youngman believes networking skills and a professional presence on the web are keys to being competitive in the current job market.

“Spend time building up your online presence and remember that everything you do on the web is part of your resume. Nothing is private, even if Facebook says it is,” Youngman said. “Figure out how you want to contribute to the world and do it as well as you can. Keep in touch with your professors. They are valuable resources. Network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

You can learn more about the Certificate in International Journalism program on Hamline’s website and on the university’s YouTube channel