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Journalism students visit with College alumni in Chicago

11/5/2010  3:45 pm

Twelve students joined UI journalism faculty members Lynn Holley and Jean McDonald in a two-day trip to visit College of Media alumni in Chicago on Oct. 27-28.

“The two days spent in Chicago were two of the most valuable days I have had at U of I,” said senior Samuel Zuba. “The contacts we made were unbelievable and will certainly prove to be valuable in the near future.”

The students met with five alumni on Thursday night for an informal dinner at Blue Frog 22. Talking one-on-one with the students were Lisa Arnett, Web producer at Chicago MetroMix, Justin Breen, assistant managing editor at The Times of Northwest Indiana; Rhianna Wisniewski of Fermilab Today; Tom Musick, sports writer at the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake; and Tom Polansek, staff writer for Dow Jones in Chicago.

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“It was great talking to alums who really wanted to help us out and explain their jobs and offer advice,” said Jill Disis, a junior in broadcast journalism. “We get a lot of opportunities on campus to talk to alums or guest speakers in a forum setting, where you're a person in an audience, but you rarely get the opportunity to talk to someone one-on-one like that over a burger and fries.”

On Friday, the students began the day with College alumnae Kristin Clifford, Kayla Gerken, Haley Beenenga, and Bridget Maiellaro at CareerBuilder.

Midmorning found the students at WFLD, Fox TV, on Michigan Avenue, where Dane Placko gave a tour of the facility and then answered questions from the group.

Steve Raquel of Illinois Online Ventures and Dave Wischnowsky discussed using social media between bites at lunch.

The day wrapped up with a visit at the Tribune Tower with representatives from Metromix, RedEye, ChicagoNow and WGN radio.

“The best part, for me, was simply being able to interact with the alumni, and not just from a networking perspective,” said senior Sarah Small. “It was great to hear their stories and learn how they got to their current jobs, either in journalism or not.

“Getting the chance to sit and talk with so many alumni who are still so passionate and excited about the university impressed upon me the value of an education from the University of Illinois and the power of being a part of the university's family, and that of the College of Media.”

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