Alyssa Washington

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Winthrop University chapter of the Association of Black Journalists (WUABJ) hosted its fourth annual boot camp last month, which was intended to connect students with media professionals.

The camp, entitled “On the Front Lines of Media: Are You Ready?” on Nov. 9, featured nine sessions led by faculty, alumni and other professionals on topics, including public relations, social media, podcasting, videography and multimedia journalism.

The event gave students the opportunity to attend seminars, ask questions and receive advice from the presenters.

Marc Williams, who has worked for networks such as ESPN, ABC, BET and NBC, was the event’s keynote speaker.

The professional presenters included Cliff Harrington from the Rock Hill Herald and Caroline Heckler from WIS-TV News 10 in Columbia, S.C. and the faculty presenters included mass communication professors Mark Nortz from Winthrop and Arlecia Simmons of Claflin University.

Shardai Figures, a mass communication major at Winthrop, said she attended the event to gain more experience in the field she hopes to enter.

“I’ve been staking some mass communication classes and I was like ‘I don’t like these classes,’” said Figures. “I thought coming to the boot camp would let me know whether or not it (mass communication) was something I wanted to be a part of.”

Terrence Weeks, senior mass communication major at Claflin University, said he wanted to learn more about branding in media.

“As an inspiring entrepreneur, I want to be my own brand and protect that brand,” said Weeks. “I want to take away the different knowledge of different aspects of mass communication.”

WUABJ executive board member Dyamond Douglas said the annual boot camp has helped the organization grow.

“We’ve had the boot camp for a few years now, but something that makes this particular boot camp so special and so unique from others, is that we were recognized as national student chapter of the year,” said Douglas.

“I feel like that alone has allowed WUABJ to develop into, not only a professional resource, but also a resource for personal development. It allows people to grow in leadership, grow into their major as well as being aware of issues.”

Presenter and Winthrop graduate Karina Young said the skills she acquired at the university helped her get to where she is today.

“Being a communication major at Winthrop I’ve definitely learned to be professional when going out into the field,” said Young.

“To be consistent, be punctual, time management is everything and within that major just learning how to edit, how to cut (audio) properly and how to have quality in the content that you deliver to the world. That’s something I am definitely using in radio right now.”

WUABJ plans to host other events throughout the school year, including a resume building workshop and a business etiquette dinner.