Department uses alumni reunion to inspire

The Mass Communication Department held a conference for students to learn and network with mass communication professionals and Grambling graduates Friday. A panel of five Black professionals – all GSU Mass Communication alumni – gave advice on how to be successful in the communication industry, stressing the importance of networking, professionalism and dedication.

Panel moderator Jerome Hubbard, a current Mass Communication major, asked panelists if their ethnicity affected them in the workplace

The sole woman on the panel, Jackie Greggs Walden, is a broadcast journalist and regional coordinator for the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living.

Walden said it took her five years to get into the broadcast journalism field. At her first job her supervisor told the staff she was only hired because she was Black. She told students that it was not because of her color that she was hired, but because of her skills and education.

“Nobody hires you because you’re black,” Walden said.

Other panelists included Conmed territory manager Rickey Davis, Ricardo Brazziell, a photojournalist for the Austin American-Statesman, and Grambling Sports Network director Santoria Black.

Black said he was turned down three times for a position he felt he deserved at a predominantly white radio station, which caused him to leave the job.

“Proof of success is not what you say, it’s what you do,” Black said.

Panelists stressed the necessity of networking. Ahmad Rashad was also a panelist. Rashad has worked in the radio industry and started an entertainment company. He said when he first started networking he used color coded index cards to record the contact information of people he met and to take notes on their conversation after talking with them.

Brazziell said that networking should not just be with high profile people because individuals may come into a position of power later.

“Don’t burn a bridge in this industry. It may come back to bite you in the behind,” Brazziell said.