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Make the most of your campus-recruiting visit

12.10.01

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Newspaper editors can create new relationships with nearby schools and students by following contact leads in the Diversity Directory.

But contacting schools is only the first step in creating new relationships. Visiting a campus and spending time with faculty and students also are required.

Time working with students and faculty helps editors best assess which students to recruit for internships and full-time jobs. That investment of time also pays off when students consider which prospective employers to pursue.

Here are suggestions on how editors can make the most of visits to campuses as they seek new talent sources:

Before you go

  • Make a plan. Set up in advance any appearances before classes, visits to the campus newspaper, appointments with faculty and conversations with students. Arrange to have lunch with the internship coordinator, campus-newspaper adviser or a small group of promising students.

  • Consider bringing a younger staffer as a way to help students envision themselves as a newspaper employee. Get the staffer involved in the activities you plan on campus.

  • Arm yourself with business cards, copies of your newspaper, its Web address and a few newspaper “souvenirs” to award during training. Also helpful would be a list of internship and job openings and deadlines for applying. An editor who works for a media company also can provide information on sister newspapers.
  • While on campus

  • Remember that many promising students of color attend colleges that do not have formal journalism programs. These students might have strong language skills and an interest in writing developed in other programs or through the campus newspaper and merely need familiarity with newspapers to be successful journalists. Seek out these students in other academic programs such as ethnic studies, history, creative writing and political science. Include in presentations to these students some “Journalism 101” basics to help them learn more about newspapers.

  • Teach a skills-development course on campus, such as writing profiles, improving interviews or designing pages. Many times, students on these campuses have not met a working journalist. You might be tempted to share journalism war stories. Instead, make your visit relevant. Students want to know what they need to learn to work in your newsroom someday.

  • Conduct a critique session for the campus newspaper and coach students on developing stories, writing sharper headlines or designing better pages. Be prepared to answer questions from students, including questions on how to cover diverse communities, how to cover those who don’t want to be covered and how a campus newspaper should recruit for staffers.

  • Host an internship and career workshop for students. Include tips on how to write a cover letter and resume and how to organize work samples. Give advice on how to make the most of an internship or how to succeed in a job interview.

  • Share with faculty members information on internships and jobs from throughout the industry, including ASNE’s directory of internships. Offer to help create a Web site or binder for students filled with contact names, brochures and other information on how they can find career information on their own.
  • When you return home

  • Send notes, copies of your newspaper or special sections or other material to the most promising students and any follow-up material to campus-newspaper advisers and internship coordinators.

  • Consider inviting the most promising students and helpful faculty to your newspaper to see the excitement of a daily newspaper first hand.
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