WC Women on Working in Media

By Elijah McGuire-Berk

Elm Staff Writer

On Oct. 9 the Washington College Career Center hosted the event “WAC Alumni in Media.”  The event hosted three alumni who each had different jobs in media related fields.  The guests were Publisher of The Daily Record Suzanne Fischer-Hunter, class of 1995, Editor of the Rowan & Littlefield publishing group Laura Reiter, class of 2010, and Executive Producer of WJZ TV Megan Walburn Vivano, class of 2007.  Jennifer Hutton moderated the discussion.

Fischer introduced herself first.  She was an English major who got a job working with The Daily Record after working with a personnel company.  She worked in advertising sales and met a publisher who offered her a job in that aspect of the business.

Next Reilter, who also majored in English, spoke.  During her time at WC, she published  in student publications such as The Elm and “The Collegian.”  She interned for one year for a journal in Washington D.C. and ended up with her publishing job.  She said that her job consists of, “… proofreading, copyediting, making sure that our authors know how to write.”

Next up was Walburn, also an English major.  While interning for WJZ, Walburn was approached about writing for TV.  After she graduated, she worked at the station writing for the early morning news broadcasts.  Eventually, she got to produce her own newscast on Sunday mornings.  Now, she is the executive producer of the 11 p.m. broadcast.

Throughout the interview, the three of them answered questions regarding various topics about their occupations such as how they got there, what to do if anyone is interested in their job fields, and whether or not they’re hiring interns for the summer.  In terms of advice for aspiring media professionals, Reilter said, “Talk to your advisors.  They know a lot and they love answering questions and they don’t mind if you don’t know what questions to ask.”  She also said, “Don’t hold out for what you think your dream job is because you might be wrong and you might be able to get some really valuable experience doing something else.”

They talked about changes that the industry has gone through due to changes in the ways in which people receive their information.  Fischer talked about the transition from subscription to advertising models of revenue, referring to the sudden shift as “the biggest struggle in media today.”  She talked about their “core audience,” consisting of high level executives in their 50s and 60s who “are loyal to print.”  The rest of their customer base will vary between print and digital, and she has to work with that.

The talk ended with questions and answers from the audience.  The three women talked about different roles of interns in their office.  Fischer said that they’re usually paid in her company.  Reiter said that hers are mostly unpaid but receive college credit.  Walburn said that she doesn’t generally deal with the interns directly, but she knows that they’re usually paid and that the internships are set up not to benefit the company but rather  the intern.

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