On Thursday October 27 a Mass Communications Symposium was held at the Smith-Brown Memorial Union in the lake front room for students looking to further their careers in both written and digital media. Students were able to get information from Southern University alumni that have experienced the Mass Communications field and became successful.
The panel was broken into two different sections: an informational portion that outlined what types of opportunities are available for mass communication majors after college and an entertainment panel that focused on more non-traditional roles in media and non-traditional routes into high level media roles.
The informational portion of the event featured key information on what type of job opportunities are available for students whose concentrations are broadcasting, public relations, and print. Students were given deeper insight on the traditional jobs discussed in the classroom and shown the realities of working in media. One of which being that several jobs may not pay as well as desired but give experience and fundamental skills that are going to be needed in order to advance ones career.
The entertainment portion of the panel consisted of six Southern University alumni who work on the entertainment side of media: Joe Anthony, Nalinya Davis, Corey Dennard, Christina Hill, Douglas Robinson, and Davida Smith. These individuals shared their stories of how they got to where they are at, what challenges they faced, and they gave students advice on how to better navigate the world of media as a person of color.
Corey “Mr. Hankey” Dennard and Joe Anthony aka DJ Marquis both work on the music side of the media industry. Dennard, a former Human Juke Box member and is currently a producer who has worked with some of the most popular rappers in the game right now such as YFN Lucci and has helped produced popular tracks such as “Living My Best Life,” suggested that the best path to success is by just by taking a leap of faith, “there are no rules and steps to success, it’s about seizing the moment of opportunity”. Anthony, a Baton Rouge native, also stressed the importance of remembering where you came from during your journey to success, “I wanted to come back and help inspire people who look like me”.
No one gets anywhere alone is a sentiment that both Christina Hill and Douglas Robinson can relate to as they attribute the start of their careers to competitions that a professor encouraged them to enter, “If it weren’t for that professor that believed in me, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Robinson.
Nalinya Davis and Davida Smith were both able to share their experiences of being an entrepreneur in the media field. Davis, a former volleyball player, currently works for Walt Disney and also runs a business called GladiatorCombine which is designed to empower athletes to self-promote themselves for better opportunities. Smith, a former member of the Southern Digest who has had the opportunity to help manage several celebrities such as Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson, uses her company, Etcetera and Company, to promote black empowerment and aims at helping promote black women in the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry is in need of mass communication majors as well and these alumni have come back to inspire current Southern University students to pursue their dreams. There are opportunities out there for Mass Communications majors that aren’t just limited to what is in the textbooks. The Symposium was a great event that addressed questions that many Mass Communication majors were concerned about. It also helped clear up confusion and amongst those who were unsure about the path that they would like to take. The advice from former Southern University students helped guide current students to focus on the future to ensure success.