The room was filled with firm handshakes and the buzz of LinkedIn notifications. In the “Peer to Peer Networking for the Early Career and Student Journalist” event led by Society of Professional Journalists Region Five Coordinator Nicole DeCriscio and SPJ Region Seven Coordinator Loretta McGraw, student journalists and young professionals had the opportunity to mingle with peers in four, seven-minute speed networking sessions.
“When I was a student, I was removed as editor of my paper,” DeCriscio said. “It was support from peers at other institutions and at a conference that helped me be okay with a bad situation. I learned from it and was able to get through it.”
Attendees shook off their early morning grogginess with an icebreaker that found commonalities between those in the room. Many attendees identified as students, lifelong learners, freelancers and pet owners.
Networking may suggest interacting with recruiters and seasoned professionals, but connections made with peers are essential in the journalism world. DeCriscio said that networking with peers allows for a refreshing perspective on newsroom culture that upper management may not understand.
University of Buffalo student Moaz Elazzazi is a mechanical engineer who attended the networking session. As he chooses between engineering and journalism, he gained insight from peers on the steps needed to pursue a writing profession.
Elazzazi said. “Journalism is such a network field, it’s all about talking to sources so it’s great practice.”