Hampton U. JAC students receive VIP treatment from Scripps executives

By Kathryn De Shields

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, the opening forum of the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Career Days was held in the auditorium. Scripps Howard Foundation visiting media professionals from across the country will be shared information with students and faculty. Their visit is to conclude with interviews for internships and scholarships on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Christian Cheairs, Joy McDonald and Roz Whitaker-Heck at news conference

“Part of the partnership we have with the Scripps Howard Foundation is that they provide support for the enhancement of our students for graduation so that they can be competent media professionals,” said Rosalynne Whitaker-Heck, interim dean at SHSJC. Students can interview for newspaper and broadcast positions, in addition to a short-course in Washington program, a Semester in Washington program, and for scholarship money. 

According to Professor Joy McDonald, the coordinator of Scripps Career Days, the Scripps Howard Foundation go to great lengths in order to serve Hampton.

“Professionals will assess resumes and samples, perhaps perform mock interviews, but they don’t interview for internships at any other school,” McDonald said. 

Interviewers look for students with a strong work ethic and who will represent the company, themselves, and the school in a positive way.

“Once they cross the threshold, interns have a responsibility to keep the door open for the next generation of students,” McDonald said. 

Students and faculty of SHSJC value the time set aside by visiting professionals as they share their knowledge about the journalism industry.

“I’m a proud member of the ‘learn something new every day’ society,” said Professor Van Dora Williams. “Whenever they have a session I’m in there. Whatever I can see that can help me enhance my class I’m there, I don’t wait for the students to show up.”

Christian Cheairs, a senior broadcast major, completed a semester in Washington via Scripps Career Days. According to Cheairs, students can greatly benefit from attending all the events.

“With the visiting professionals, you gain practical wisdom from people involved with the business you want to be a part of,” Cheairs said. “Any other time, you’re breaking your neck trying to get these people’s attention for five seconds, but with Career Days, media professionals have made you their schedule for two days.”

To date, visiting professionals from the Scripps Howard Foundation have been impressed with what they have seen.

“When professionals visit for the first time, they are impressed with what they see. They say, ‘Oh my goodness the students are so well dressed, so mature, and so poised,’” said Whitaker-Heck. “Those who have visited before come back because they have had such a positive experience at our school.”

Some visiting professionals are actually scouting students and following their progress to see if they are eligible for a job with the company come graduation.

“They have invested so much in us,” said McDonald. “They treat our students very well, and our students represent them very well.”

“Students here are a cut above the rest,” said Whitaker-Heck. “I feel that the executives know they have with the mark with their investment.”

This year, 10 visiting professionals employed with E.W. Scripps Co. media outlets across the country will be visiting the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, along with multimedia expert Sara Quinn of the Poynter Institute.

The writer is a senior in the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.