As a senior the Wednesday before Spring Break usually goes something like this: “I’m soo ready to get out of here, I need a break!” Well, if you were in David’s PR Campaigns class this morning the feelings were more positive, rewarding and humbling. Our small class of seven curious, eager, nervous PR majors, and David, had the honor of three wonderful guests: Craig Morgan, freelance writer and long time senior sports editor at The East Valley Tribune, Sarah Fenske, senior columnist at Phoenix New Times, and Ashlea Deahl, editor of Phoenix Magazine.
Our intimate group had the opportunity to pick the brains of these three journalism gurus to get the scoop on public relations people, their advice to us as soon-to-be college graduates and even personal stories that allowed us to relate to our guests in a very different way. Seeing the high-ranking journalists as normal people by cracking jokes, sharing stories and finding commonalities allowed a unique opportunity for seven students who only imagine what it would be like to start a column in The Arizona Republic, nail a huge investigative story for New Times, and publish the top magazine in Arizona each month.
Our conversation went so well for a few reasons.
- The guests represented the good, bad and ugly of journalism
- They talked from their perspective, experiences and knowledge
- Their personalities were as different Howard Stern and Sarah Palin
- They were open minded to all of our questions about job advice, pet peeves and hockey
As students what did we do? We came prepared. We researched our guests, we prepared questions and knew is might be the one and only time this opportunity would be here.
I know David isn’t the only professor who can woo guests to visit the Cronkite school. As soon-t0-be graduates looking for internships, full-time jobs and connections, next time your professor invites a guest to class, whether it be a PR, print, broadcast class or even a Must-See-Monday series, be prepared! Find a way to set yourself a part or at least ask intelligent questions. A few last tips that will go a long way, grab business cards, say ‘thank you’ in person and write a hand-written thank you notes to each guest the same day!