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Ohio University chapters of RTDNA, PRSSA host professional conferences

Apr 16, 2013

Ohio University chapters of RTDNA, PRSSA host professional conferences


By Kerry Tuttle

ATHENS, Ohio (April 16, 2013)—Two student organizations in the Scripps College of Communication hosted professional conferences at Ohio University this semester. Ohio University’s chapter of the Radio Television Digital News Association (OU RTNDA) and the Hugh M. Culbertson chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) organized conferences with esteemed speakers from the journalism, public relations and communications industry.

“It is important to host conferences here at OU because it shows that students can trust in the Scripps program,” said junior journalism major and Vice President of OU RTDNA Caitlin Turner. “Scripps is one of the best journalism schools in the country, and I have always felt fortunate to be a part of a school where speakers are provided. By bringing the panelists here, we give students the opportunity to learn and network and possibly even get a job.”

The Ohio University chapter of RTDNA held its 23rd annual local conference in Scripps Hall on March 23. Eight speakers from the fields of broadcast journalism and digital news hosted discussions and provided advice about everything from professional development to networking to résumé and reel critiques. The following professionals attended the event:

  • Jim Otte, Reporter for WHIO (Dayton, OH)
  • Mary Ellen Hardies, Director of Communications for the Delta Gamma Fraternity
  • Chip Mahaney, Senior Director, Local Operations for the E.W. Scripps Company
  • Scott Saxton, News Director for WECT/WSFX (Wilmington, N.C.)
  • Mikaela Hunt, Anchor and Reporter for WCMH (Columbus, OH)
  • Sheila Gray, Anchor for WXIX (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Aaron Ramey, News Director for WBND (South Bend, IN)
  • Brooks Jarosz, Multimedia Journalist, Anchor and Reporter for WSAZ (Charleston, WV)

“I’d say the overall theme was education and advice for those wishing to pursue broadcast as a career,” said Turner. “There were many topics such as election coverage, disaster reporting and the best technology to enhance your presence to the public.”

About 15 students attended the event, which was planned by the entire OU RTDNA executive board and their advisor, Mary Rogus, as well as promoted and publicized by both the OU RTDNA and Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) executive board.

PRSSA’s executive board also planned their regional conference entitled Beyond the Basics, which was held on March 16 and included 104 attendees from seven states and 12 schools. It was one of ten regional PRSSA conferences held nationally this year and boasted attendance from the following professionals in the field:

  • Ben Lincoln, Writing Director, GolinHarris
  • Richard J. Batyko, President, Regional Marketing Alliance of Northeast Ohio
  • Edward Burghard, CEO, The Burghard Group LLC
  • Demi Knight Clark, Integrative Health Coach, Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine
  • Lauren K. Gray, National President of PRSSA
  • Representatives from Fahlgren-Mortine, Ogilvy, Walker Sands and Central Ohio PRSA

“The Scripps PRSSA Beyond the Basics Regional conference was focused on offering students the opportunity to learn about emerging PR and communication industry topics from industry professionals,” said Danielle Szabo, a senior public relations major and the VP of Finance for Scripps PRSSA. “We were able to show off our hard work and talent to the other 12 schools so they could see how great Ohio University and our journalism school are.”

Students reap the benefits from attending conferences held at Ohio University because they can get personal attention from proven professionals. The power of networking and learning from professionals makes local, regional and even national conferences beneficial to students looking to get ahead in their chosen field.