NOTE: This column is dedicated to recent graduates: A very talented Features Editor from Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills wrote a story about me for their award-winning student newspaper, the Moraine Valley Glacier. She just graduated from MVCC, and looks forward to a publishing career.
Posted by Ciara Barnett on April 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm
Figuring out what you’re passionate about at age eighteen is hard for some people to grasp; others have known what they wanted to do since an early age. Alison Moran was born to communicate.
Blogger Alison Moran from “Token Female,” part of the ChicagoNow of Chicago Tribune Media Group, visited the Publications Seminar, offering advice and giving a lecture to the class about journalism and the innovations of today’s media.
“I’ve been involved in sports broadcasting since 1989, when I got an internship with WBEZ, with a blind sportscaster. Ever since then I really haven’t been out of the business,” said Moran. “I spent a year and a half in an internship with Bob Greenburg, who needed a seeing eye person to take him into the locker rooms and sit in the press box with him. That’s how I started my career.”
After receiving a BA in journalism and history from Drake University, Moran has been involved in guess lecturing at multiple colleges and universities. She has completed reports for various radio stations, hosts’ news and talk shows throughout the years. Moran gave a handout to students about the future of journalism. The handout stated that today it’s not just newspapers, but the world also has media platforms, news apps, and hyperlocalism. To become the future of journalism, students must commit to being a responsible and accurate journalist and serve as an intern for several different media forms. The class was told that they could stand out only by reporting the absolute truth.
“You need to know how to control the message and what exactly your client is going to say. For the rest of you who want to go into journalism, I have one word of advice; do not think of building your brand,” said Moran. “No one cares about your brand. But everyone cares about what you could do for them. What are your skills? How are you going to be able to help them create what they want to? What type of a team player are you? How well can you take direction? I don’t care if you want to be the white Oprah Winfrey, and believe me, I got that twice from people.”
Her latest project, Rivet Radio, is an app for iPhones. Moran is a sports reporter for this state-of-the-art radio app, and she did the previews for the NCAA news, both men and women. Rivet offers long news stories, and stories can be covered at any angle possible. One broadcast can scroll into another, giving the listener constant news throughout their car or train ride, or during a walk. Entertainment and world news also is available for Rivet Radio.
“Now a days things are a bit different in the sports world and in the PR world. Much more different than before, basically instead of having just newspapers, you’re going to have to think about platforms and how one thing goes into another,” said Moran. “You have to think of how things would look on a smartphone and on an application for an iPad. You are the consumer; you have to know what it is going to look like. It’s a business that will never lack for jobs.”
Moran’s advice to students was to outwork everyone because only you control your career. She encouraged students not to miss out on any opportunities, and to say yes to anything interesting that comes their way. She also told students to say yes to everything just to get the experience.
“Know what your strengths are. Are you a writer? Are you a social media expert? Are you a very good broadcaster? What do you do best? Then expand on all of the things that you don’t know about,” said Moran. “If you’re not a good feature writer, start learning how to be a good feature writer. Take direction from those who are put in place to help you learn. No question is too dumb, no question is off limits; learn what you don’t know. That way you will be able to market yourself as an “all around” person.”
Moran currently works at many different places including as a corporate, foundation and legislative staff writer for Shelter, Inc. in Arlington Heights, IL; she reports sports for Rivet Radio; reports for the Des Planes Valley News; and is a sports commentator for WRLR 98.3FM. And she is the "Token Female" on ChicagoNow.com.
“I started off doing public relations for a hospital. I did speeches, I did press releases and kits, I did interviews, I had to turn down an interview from our medical director because he wanted it as a date, and I didn’t. That’s another rule of thumb; don’t take the subject of your stories, ever,” said Moran. “I say that because it wipes out your credibility as a journalist or a writer. You will never be as good as you can be if you’re not careful in checking your facts and making sure that you have quotes verified. Do not just take it off the Internet. Go call them. Find out if they really said that. A lot of rumors get started because of the Internet and you have to check them out. You can’t go with just a source.”
However, as an expert in her field, we can trust Alison Moran as a source for good advice and we look forward to catching her lectures in the upcoming fall semester.
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