Mark Pelham- Final Reflection and Thoughts


            When I first signed up for this January Term study abroad trip, I kept saying to myself that I was only going to see two cities I’ve been wanting to visit my whole life. At the time, only for that reason was I going to venture to New York City and Washington D.C. But I was wrong in the end; very wrong in fact. I have learned more on this journalism class adventure than I have in any introduction business class I’ve taken thus far at Whitworth. I don’t know if it was learning first-hand from real-life journalism professionals or just simply being away from Spokane on the east coast for twenty days. I’ll go with the former.


            Mentioning this before makes me feel like I keep repeating myself over and over again, but this trip unfortunately didn’t change my mind on my intended major. But the trip didn’t have to. I wasn’t expecting to all of the sudden, on the flight home from Utah flip-of-the-switch change my major to journalism or communications. I have too much time and money invested into my two plus years of my Marketing and Business Management soon-to-be-degrees. I feel I more importantly gained tremendous respect for journalism/communications majors as a whole. Zoning out all transportation day Sunday, I was considering everything I learned to prepare myself to write this reflection and one thing kept sticking: how much time and hard work these journalists put into their careers.


            In my reflection of the trip, I wanted to discuss seven different tools I took away. I didn’t just take them away from our class meetings with media professionals but also from the trip overall. Lastly, they are in no particular order.


  1. Acceptance.


I begin with an odd one. You’re thinking, “Acceptance, what in the heck does he mean by that?” Let me explain.


It actually means the opposite. I tried to think of the best way to put in one word, not settling in your job. It means not simply accepting where you are as a journalist. Especially in the journalism/media world, change is always happening. Not only change in the public for you to report on every single day but change internally, in your own organization. Change also in your own career, your personal career path is what I’m speaking about.


            One day in New York Hannah, Katherine, Chelsie and I met with NBC Sports Advertising Sales professional Brendan Buglione. Buglione at one point in his early twenties, right around our current ages, was in the Marines. He originally got his college degree in Sociology. He at the time had no idea that his future would be in Advertising Sales. He was working for a State Farm Insurance Company in New York when a client that had a friend that knew somebody (Networking in its finest capacity) worked at NBC Sports Advertising Sales and told him to interview for one of their openings. He was hired and he is now one promotion away from being an Account Executive- the big dog who makes all the calls and actually travels the country actually making the pitches and sells television advertising spots to large companies. Companies like Budweiser, IBM, and so on.


            The point I’m making is that Buglione didn’t accept where he was in his career at State Farm. State Farm is a great insurance company to work for I’m sure, but he didn’t settle and now he’s working a really cool, fast-paced environment job in a skyscraper in the heart of the Big Apple. Never settle in your job. Work hard for promotions, meet new people to take you better places, and jump on every opportunity, large or small.

2. Patience.



Waiting for that opportunity to arise takes one of the five virtues: patience. That sang, “Your day will come,” pops into my head. And that other one that in a minute way pertains to this situation, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” You are Rome of course. Climbing the ladder takes time. You have your whole life ahead of you.


            I understand a lot of what is stated above is cliché quotes.  But what’s stated above is also true. I think it was Regnery Press Editorial Director Harry Crocker that mentioned to have patience with your work. Not everyone will accept it. And Crocker should know working for such a right-winged publishing company.


            I feel like putting a twist on patience and making it geared more toward you as ‘the work’ made the most sense. Nine out of ten interviews in a journalist’s future job-searching carousel will phone back and say one of the listed comments:


  1. You were over-qualified.
  2. You’re just not what we’re looking for at this time.
  3. Thanks for taking your time to interview with us, but we decided not to hire you.
  4. Check back next year to see if we have any openings but until then, we’ll keep your application on file.


Personally I feel like motivation ties into patience. Harry Crocker I assume is motivated every time somebody says ‘no can do.’ In my own professional future, every company that says no to me goes on a list and I’ll see that every day and say to myself, “I’ll prove them wrong.”


The story of C-SPAN president Brian Lamb comes up in this outfit. He patiently kept inside what he wanted to do in his life after following his dad’s commands of becoming a lawyer. But he made the decision a very long time ago and now we see where he’s climbed to: a large well-known company’s president and co-founder. I bet a lot of patience helped him along the way.

3. Marketing.



No I’m not talking about my major. I’m talking about marketing yourself. The small things matter in this the most. Yes the resume and the cover letter. Taking pieces of a company’s mission statement or CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sprinkling those pieces amongst the letter; hence making the letter the best piece of writing they’ve ever read.


It could be just having a resume always ready to go because you never know who you’re going to run into.

4. Research.



It’s all I heard in the meeting with Mark Jurkowitz and the Pew Center. Now I know he’s talking more about what his journalistic entity does but research always brings nothing but positives.


Relating research to an individual spectrum, you can’t do enough research when finding your own career path. Research everything from what jobs specifically entail work-wise to what the pay scale looks like. Research is one of those things you can’t do enough of.

5. Internships.



How many times have college students heard these three words, “Internships, internships, and more internships.” I know it’s the same word, just spelled out three times. But that’s how important they are. I heard the word internship at least once from Ketchum PR talent acquisition specialist Lindsay Bergantino, New York Times graphics editor Kevin Quealy, Kellie Specter and Barbara Gordon from WNET, Bloomberg News’s New York Bureau Chief Karen Amanda Toulon, Associated Press senior HR administrator Xavier Williams, ProPublica Director of Communications Mike Webb, Ogilvy & Mather, Mike Hoyt of Columbia Journalism Review, Student Press Law Center’s Frank LoMonte, RCFP’s Gregg Leslie, Eagle Publishing’s Harry Crocker and Cathy Taylor, C-SPAN President Brian Lamb, National Association of Broadcasters’ Marcellus Alexander, Pew Center Associate Director Mark Jurkowitz and PBS President Paula Kerger.  


Yes, I heard the word internship at least once at every meeting I was in attendance for. That must mean they are pretty important in our future as college students. It’s almost a priority nowadays to get a job in your intended degree field. Almost to the point that if you don’t have any internship experiences on your resume then you simply don’t get the job.

6. Networking.



Networking is another highly important way of getting job offers. Getting those business cards and handing out your own cards with your contact information cannot be more important. Networking can be defined in numerous different ways. Business cards, talking with a professional in your field, and having a cup of coffee with your Whitworth professor; it is any way to make connections and contacts that you will benefit from in the short or long term.


      I have business cards from almost every single media place we had a meeting with. And I don’t think the setting matters in networking either. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying work in New York or if you’re looking for a job opportunity or promotion in Spokane, Wash. One might think that it’s more important to network in a big city; that’s entirely false. No matter what field you’re getting your degree in or what job you want to do in the future, networking is a must.

7. Respect.



I know I keep reiterating it but respect is what I gained most from this trip. I don’t know if you can call it a tool but I call it one. Being a double business-major, I would always brag about Weyerhaeuser being the top school on campus. But this trip has shifted my mindset or at least made me think twice about that assessment.


I understand now that journalists are some of if not the hardest working profession I know. The effort they put in yes, but the time they put in is astronomical and hard to believe.


That and the passion they put into their work. At the Newseum I read about a photo journalist that loved his work so much that when he got too close to the first falling tower of 9/11, falling debris ended up taking his life.




Now I’m going to end on that; something to think about for us college students (reference to my blog post, “The Video”).  Are we going into a field that we care so much about, that we’d give our life to do our best work? It’s for the people to get that snapshot or record that news piece. Take that into consideration as you move ahead onto your own future career path.

  1. #1 by chrissyroach on January 30, 2013 - 11:55 pm

    I really appreciated your reflection, Mark. I’m glad that you have gained a respect for journalism while on this trip. I don’t think this strictly applies to journalism, though, because I feel like if we had gone on a business trip and met similar people, we all would have taken the same things away. I think it just comes down to the fact that we met with inspirational people who love what they do. Hopefully we can all be in a similar position to them someday.

  2. #2 by aforhan14 on January 31, 2013 - 12:50 am

    Thanks for sharing your paper, Mark. I appreciated and agree with the points you outlined. I also think it’s really cool that you had the desire to go on a trip outside your major, and find value in journalism while at the same time still knowing that working toward your double major in business is where you want to be. It makes me consider taking a trip outside of my major to see if I could be exposed to a new perspective/appreciation.

    I was surprised to learn the amount of people we met on the trip that didn’t have the specific major that is typical for their job title, or networked their way a company and then climbed the ranks. I guess it goes back to “It’s not who you are but who you know” some of the time.

    But again, thanks for sharing, it was really cool to see all you’ve learned, and Chrissy and I hope that we have captured a little of what each of us has learned with our videos. It was great meeting you and talking sports on the trip, so glad I wasn’t the only guy on the trip. I wish you the best with your work in the field of business.

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