Here at OU, the journalism school consists of two different tracks (outside of HTC): Strategic Communication and News & Information. Some classes, like JOUR2311, are required for all journalism majors. Learning that occurs outside of the classroom is connected as well. In the ‘real world,’ PR professionals and journalists who write for publications work closely together. During my internship last year, I was tasked with media pitching numerous times. Having good relationships with those who are news-oriented journalists is vital for this very reason. Let’s be honest: everyone is more likely to try to help someone out if they know them personally, and with the number of pitches News & Info students get now, even pre-professionally, it’s important to stand out.
The biggest way that I, as a Strategic Communication major, have made connections with News & Info students is through The Post, OU’s student-run newspaper. Even if you’re not interested in writing, there is a section called Audience Engagement, which does exactly what the name suggests: social media. And because we all communicate via Slack, which has tons of different channels, it’s easy and encouraged to start talking or jump in on a conversation. In fact, I’ve made many friends that way.
One channel I’m in is called HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which is used when someone is looking for a contact for a story. I try to connect people with contacts when I can because I know I would want someone to help me if I was in their position. This is also a great way to do an act of kindness for someone and make genuine relationships with News & Info majors.
At the end of the day, both Strategic Communication and News and Information majors are ultimately in the same school–journalism. There are many benefits to collaborating with the other track of journalism, and I encourage everyone to do so more often.