Friday, October 18, 2013

Communication, Public Relations Focus Of September Campus Panel

Panelists discuss their experience in the fields of
communications and journalism.
by Travonte Harris

September 25 was a very important day for the St. Louis Community College campus. The campus had the opportunity to host a panel of experts in the field of communication in the library.  Many Florissant Valley students, several of which were from the media and communication departments, attended the panel. The experts were Craig LeFabe, the Public Information Coordinator of the St. Louis County Health Department, Larry Pry the Assistant Marketing Director of the St. Louis Muny Theater, and Everett Austin Dietle, Director of Communications for the St. Louis History Museum. The experts started by discussing their references and work history.

Some of the panelists had started in completely different jobs or fields, or they had started in a completely different part of their current field, but they all ended up working in communications. “I wanted to be a filmmaker,” said Craig LeFabe, “but life happens.” Craig eventually went on to other studies. Everett Austin Dietle said he liked history and originally wanted to be an archeologist, but changed his mind based on the work conditions. But Larry Pry, on the other hand, said that he “really liked theater so [he] knew [he] wanted to work in it.” He ended up taking jobs in theater and music.

The next thing they discussed was the future of journalism. They came to the conclusion that no matter how technology advances, Journalism will always exist in some form or another. Flexibility was also a major topic. “I play the piano,” said Pry. “You have to know how to do different things.” Pry explained that sometimes to get on important media outlets, one has to grab their attention. “It helps if I play the songs for the upcoming Muny season,” he continued. “The media is always looking for something different.”  

The panel discussed how many journalists no longer have camera people. They are expected to be able to operate the camera and sometimes ask the questions, or the questions are fed through an earpiece. “This means that something is lost, we don’t always get to have those pre interview talks,” said Everett Austin Dietle, “you have to be flexible.” 

All three of the panelists’ discussed the importance of interning in your field of interest. “I had a student who recently asked for an internship at the Muny.” Larry discussed how he was glad to give the student the internship, because it means something to gain experience and work in an unpaid internship. They all agreed that over education, internships and other experiences are more important than school to some employers.

The communication panelists closed by taking questions from the students, and ended up meeting one-on-one with students. This event turned out to be a major networking opportunity for those students present. A similar panel organized by the campus Mass Communications club, this one on filmmaking, will be held in the TV studio at IR 142 on October 23 at 2 p.m. and will be open to all interested Florissant Valley students.

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