"The workshop you facilitated this afternoon was amazing. So amazing that it inspired me to instantly enhance my website," wrote Erika J. Glover of South Carolina, who graduated from Penn State University in May after studying broadcast journalism and international studies. "Of course, I understood the importance of utilizing social media and other software to expand my scope and influence. Yet, it was not until I heard you speak that I realized its actual significance." Erika also said "my dream, rather, my destiny is to become an international reporter." She added: "My hope is that I can maintain contact with you throughout my career" and "currently, my focus is on my job hunt."
So what surprised me? I remembered this young woman seeming inattentive during the NABJ session. I asked why upon calling Erika without warning on Tuesday. She said she was contemplating what she had and had not learned at Penn State. No worries, I said. What matters is what happened henceforth. "I am prepared to invest in you 100 percent," I told her, if she was prepared to invest in me the same. Erika replied matter-of-factly, "I am."
The next day, July 4, we spoke for two hours! We discussed everything from what she learned at the convention to her creating a LinkedIn profile to her using the same portrait across social media platforms to tweeting smartly with hashtags and by the one-third rule: 33 percent information, 33 percent news and 33 percent personal. We also focused on her "twesume" – that is, the 160 characters (maximum) that make up her Twitter bio. (Here's more about what makes a good twesume.) We also talked about the importance of using AP style and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation in her tweets, so she demonstrates that she can write effectively.
Erika also shared that she was shadowing reporters at a television station in Columbia. She was happy to be alongside professionals daily and getting help with her resume tape. We spoke about creating a digital portfolio that could best present her aspirations, experience and potential to news directors and recruiters. I'm looking forward to our interaction and hope it becomes part of my independent study for graduate school. More importantly, I'm eager to learn that Erika has found her first reporting job. It will touch me, no doubt. It certainly will not surprise me.