By Kylie Garrett
The room was packed; students and faculty filled room 109 of Humanities Hall during common hour on Oct. 26 as they waited for Dimitra Kessenides, special projects and news editor of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. This was the journalism program’s second lunchtime lecture of the semester, co-hosted by the political science department.
Kessenides was undecided throughout her college career about what she wanted to do with her life, like many of the students in the audience. She explained that once she realized she wanted to meet people, learn about their lives and work on stories more directly, she recognized she wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
After college, she went to graduate school in journalism, landed her first internship and then her first job at American Lawyer magazine. She said that she owes a lot of her success to this job, which she described as one of the best experiences in her professional career. “A lot of stuff can seem tedious when starting out at an entry level position; inevitably you are the person who is going to have to support senior reporters or editors by doing more research, doing fact checking, having to go and find things, and you might not have your name attached to the end product in those first couple of years,” Kessenides said.
She reminded the students of various majors in the audience that even though some jobs might not be everything they hoped for, they should take the job anyway. It could be the one experience that gets them to exactly where they want to be.
Aside from speaking about her career, Kessenides spoke to the audience about ways to be successful in the field of journalism. These tips were very useful to the students in the audience; they all gave Kessenides their full attention. “Every point of your career and who you meet is especially important,” she said. Kessenides explained that networking and experience is critical. “Broad experiences are good for exposure,” Kessenides said. In her career, without her first job experience, she may not have been able to do some of the things that she can do now. For example, because of her job at American Lawyer, she is now able to cover stories about the law without having gone to law school. That experience from her first job opened doors for her.
Kessenides also stressed the importance of internships. “Go out there and start working,” she said. No matter what kind of internship it is, it can help. They help with making connections and getting noticed, which are the building blocks to a career. The audience left the room with their questions answered and many tools they can use as they set foot in their professional careers.
The journalism program’s last lunchtime lecture of the semester will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 12:30 p.m. in Humanities, Room 109. Bruce Bergman, an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will explain the recent BLS projections that from 2016 to 2026, 11.5 million jobs will be added to stimulate the economy. He will tell students how to access the latest BLS information on job trends and career resources. The lunchtime lectures are open to students of all majors, free of charge.