College students visit Poughkeepsie Journal Offices

Poughkeepsie Journal

Sophomore Felicia DaVolio, sitting in on an afternoon meeting at the Poughkeepsie Journal. (Photo by Lee Ferris, Mount Saint Mary College)

by Jillian Torre

 

Mount Saint Mary College students learned newspaper operations and got tips for career success during a visit to the Poughkeepsie Journal on Thursday, Oct. 17.

The trip, arranged by the school’s Career Center, was open to communication students and Mount Messenger staff.

The group arrived at the newspaper’s historic colonial style building in time to sit in on the afternoon budget meeting.

The students first met Executive Editor Stuart Shinske who oversaw the meeting and introduced the section editors who informed Shinske of the stories in their sections.

The social media manager ran off the day and month’s updated digital media statistics, an important aspect of the modern day news organization.

After each editor spoke, they talked about what would make the front page. Shinske told the students front-page stories are picked according to what readers would want to see.

Senior and Mount Messenger Features Editor Carrie Victoria clung to this theme of writing what the readers want.

“I think we could get more people to read our newspaper if we start to think more of what do they want to read,” said Victoria.

The Poughkeepsie Journal has many resources to measure which stories are more news worthy than others.

The students gave their input on which stories they would like to see on the cover.

After the meeting Shinske stayed and allowed the students to ask him questions about the industry.

Junior Mallika Rao asked about the evolution and future of the Poughkeepsie Journal since the print news industry is losing the business it once had. Shinske said that newspapers are changing, but not dying. The Poughkeepsie Journal has evolved to a media organization and a newspaper is only one of their many products.

Shinske gave the students some advice on getting into the field of journalism after graduation.

He said he looks for candidates who, “can think on their own, decipher and distill information on their own and have a bullsh*t detector.”

Being able to “navigate change” and think on one’s toes will make someone a good journalist.

Shinske talked about how he can teach anyone to write and edit a reporter’s story but having critical thinking skills needed to interview sources and follow a lead are qualities he looks for when hiring.

“Separate yourselves from the other candidates,” said Shinske.

Victoria said hearing this from Shinske was helpful and that separating herself from other candidates is something she needs to work on.

The Career Center organizes field trips for different majors every semester and are working to get Shinske to come and talk at the school.