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Recruiters, prospects share a goal: Filling a job opening

By Billy O'Keefe

NATHAN ALTADONNA / The Working Press
Annette Billings hopes some SPJ members will extend their stay in Washington.

Nerissa Young of Marshall University, right, registers. (Photo by Heidi Greenleaf / The Working Press)

Nerissa Young of Marshall University, right, registers. (Photo by Heidi Greenleaf / The Working Press)

The human resources director for Congressional Quarterly said a team of recruiters is attending the convention to look for reporters, online editors and videographers to cover Capitol Hill.
More than 20 recruiters from media companies nationwide are scouting for talent through Saturday afternoon at the annual Journalism Expo Trade Show in the Regency Ballroom. They need to fill vacancies and identify talented prospects for the future.
“We’re always looking at resumes to hold,” Billings said.
Billings said Congressional Quarterly sends recruiters to conventions to identify people who may want to join the organization in the future. They also have a list of open positions at their booth at the expo.
Billings said the SPJ gathering was a good choice because the convention is in the same city as its headquarters.
The capital setting also was attractive to the National Journal group, said Josephine Vu, associate director of human resources for Atlantic Media, which owns the publications that cover the federal government.
National Journal has a couple of staff writer positions open, but in general it’s seeking prospects with knowledge of government.
“We’re definitely looking for people that have that strong interest,” Vu said.
Media General also is hiring journalists to work in the nation’s capital, multimedia producer Alex Marcelewski said. The Richmond, Va.-based media company is looking for multimedia producers to cover D.C. news for its 23 television stations and its more than 100 daily and weekly newspapers and their Web sites.
Marcelewski said the company also is seeking applicants for multimedia fellowships. Four recent graduates will be hired this spring to work in markets where the company owns a newspaper, television and Web site.
The opportunity to meet college journalists was what attracted McClatchy Co. to the convention, corporate recruiter Reginald Stuart said.
“SPJ is an important organization in journalism,” said Stuart, a past president of the organization. “It draws a lot of students we may not see at other conventions.”
When Stuart began his career 40 years ago at The Tennessean in Nashville, the job-hunting process was “much less formal.”
“They didn’t have job fairs,” he said.
An aspiring journalist either “knew somebody” or showed up at the media outlet and asked if there was an opening.
Stuart said job fairs and conventions are a great way for aspiring journalists to be exposed to different employers. He said he encourages people to go to as many workshops as possible.
“Even if you’re a shy person – network,” he said. “You’ll get over it.”
Stuart said he looks for “spark” in candidates – “something that says this person really does love this business.”
“That’s important in journalism,” he said. “You’ve got to love it.”
Amy Beck, a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, said she wants to be a photographer for McClatchy when she graduates.
She’s met with Stuart at other job fairs and plans to talk to him again.
“Having a professional look at your stuff is always a good thing,” Beck said.