Satisfying her own curiosity, and that of journalism students, is what brought Kameel Stanley back to CMU after she had been invited to be a Hearst Visiting Professional in September.
“I’m very curious about what today’s journalism students think of the industry and what they think they’re getting into,” Stanley said.
Stanley majored in journalism and creative writing and graduated from CMU in December 2008. She had worked at CM Life as a reporter and editor while in college. She is now a police and crime beat reporter at the Tampa Bay Times.
As part of the Hearst series, Stanley came to Moore Hall to discuss how CMU helped shape her career as a journalist and to offer students her thoughts on how the industry is changing.
“Journalism is not going away. There will always be a need for information; it will just be a delivery issue,” Stanley said.
She said today there are so many media choices that consumers aren’t always choosing what is right. She told students, that as journalists, they need to be willing to challenge the facts and report the truth.
In Teresa Hernandez’s JRN 102 class, students asked Stanley what they should be doing to prepare for their future careers. She stressed the importance of doing, not just studying.
“Classes are important, but CM Life is where I learned how to be a journalist. … You can’t study journalism, you have to do journalism,” Stanley said.
CM Life gets you clips, teaches you how to work on deadline and helps you network with professionals in your field, Stanley said. She also mentioned how Tim Boudreau’s Ethics and Media Law class, her photo class, and Dr. John Palen’s speed drills shaped her as a journalist.
She stressed the importance of getting internships, even as early as after freshman year. She said she believes her internships made it easier for her to get a job once she graduated.
All that experience covering the police department beat during internships at the Jackson Citizen Patriot, The Grand Rapids Press, Tampa Bay Times and The Washington Post, prepared Stanley for her career today.
“I like telling people’s stories, and writing about things that matter to people,” she said.
One student asked Stanley about the relevance of social media in her job. She said social media matters, but it depends on what type of journalist you are. She said Twitter helps readers identify with writers on a more personal level, but Stanley does not focus on that in her position.
For current journalism students, Stanley said they need to find a place where they can fit in, get on-the-job training and grow as journalists.
For those students who are considering a journalism education, she advised: “Pay attention to what’s going on in the world and the industry. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.”