CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- While cloudy skies hung over much of the Triangle, dozens of aspiring journalists and their community advocates gathered inside of UNC-Chapel Hill's Friday Center. That's where the ABC11 Minority Advisory Committee convened for a timely forum called "Women in Media: Tips, Opportunities and Challenges."
The candid information shared by women who work on air and behind the scenes at ABC11 is appreciated by Grace Morris, an Elon University student who's considering a career as a reporter or producer.
"Knowing I'm gonna face those challenges, but I think it helps prepare me better to know that I'm gonna have to work twice as hard. I'll have to really grind, in order to get to where I want to go," said Morris.
A panel including Gloria Rodriguez, Amber Rupinta, Brittany Bell and Tisha Powell discussed pitfalls of the business for young journalists who are tempted to take public positions, pro or con, on hot-button issues of the day.
"There are places people can got that's gonna say what they want to hear," Powell said. "That's not necessarily us! Our job is to continue to give that information in an unbiased way, to our local communities."
They also got to speak one-on-one with people who don't appear on camera, but make sure what we do here and in the field reaches you. Among the questions those students asked:
"I didn't realize that what you do is a job, or I didn't know 'Social Media Manager' was a job," said ABC11 investigative producer Tonya Simpson. "'I'm really interested in editing. Are there people who just get hired to edit?' I think the message was definitely put cross, and students are starting to think about other aspects of journalism they can work in."
Simpson was impressed by the students with initiative, who saw the opportunity to speak with decision makers like ABC11's news director Michelle Germano while she was in the room.
"I've talked to a few of them! I'm about to make some more rounds," said High Point University student Courtney Wallen, "make more connections, pass out business cards, have them take a look at my resume."
She and other students had their resumes reviewed by the on-air and behind-the-scenes members of our team, all willing to help the aspiring journalists get and keep good jobs when they graduate.