Media in Memphis 2019
New Memphis staff had the privilege to attend Leadership Memphis' Diversity in Media panel, “Behind the Headlines: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" at the 12th annual Multicultural Breakfast this morning. The panel was moderated by Otis Sanford (The Daily Memphian), and panelists included: Ruby Bailey (Executive Editor, Columbia Missourian at University of Missouri-Columbia), Mark Russell (Executive Editor, The Commercial Appeal), James Overstreet (Editor-in-Chief, The Daily Memphian), Lisa Lovell (News Director, Local 24 News, WATN-TV, the ABC Affiliate), and Jonathan Mitchell (Vice President and General Manager, WMC Action News 5, the NBC Affiliate).
The panel provided knowledge about the importance of diversity and inclusion in local media coverage, and one question in particular stood out. As we continue to work with employers and collegians, the question is always centered on what employers are looking for in potential hires. The panelists tackled this question head-on and gave insights for rising graduates in the process. Launch participants, listen up!
Question: What are you looking for in a graduate who is hoping to work in media here in Memphis?
Answer: (paraphrased from the event)
Jonathan Mitchell: Curiosity.
Mark Russell: I second curiosity and add flexibility. I'm not so much worried about grades. If you have good enough grades to graduate, that is good enough for me.
Lisa Lovell: Strong work ethic. You can't be curious (only) 8 hours a day. This profession is a lifestyle because news doesn't stop.
James Overstreet: Tenacity. Someone who won't stop until the assignment is finished. And someone not calling you back is not the end of the assignment. Go park yourself in someone's office if that's what it takes for them to talk to you.
Ruby Bailey: Critical thinking. It's not enough to say that something happened. You have to take it a step farther and ask why it happened. Find an answer and follow-up when it makes enough sense.