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Each year, NEWSPA holds an annual conference for young aspiring journalists. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NEWSPA conference was held virtually.  The keynote speaker was Mariah Haberman, a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduate from the Department of Journalism. Haberman is the host and director of brand development for the state’s leading media brand Discover Wisconsin. Below, she outlines her advice on her journey throughout her time as an undergraduate and now professional career as a host, producer and marketer.

Creating Connections 

Haberman acquired her job at Discover Wisconsin by reaching out to connections she had at Discover Mediaworks over Facebook. “I asked if he could get me in the door and introduce me to the decision makers, and after we kept in touch for a year and a half,” Haberman said. “They finally let me in for an audition, and it went OK.” She emphasizes the importance of not only remaining optimistic but continuing to stay in touch to remind them how interested you are.

Diversify Your Skill Set

It’s essential to not only focus on one or two major skills but becoming well rounded in many aspects of the field you’re entering. Being sure to soak up everything you learn, even if it’s something that doesn’t entirely interest you is important. You never know where paths might take you in the future or what you’ll truly end up enjoying. Haberman said she had no knowledge surrounding video production when she began at Discover Wisconsin. She took interest in various parts of production such as, how to produce, writing scripts, running social media for television, and how to host.

Say Yes to Opportunity

Begin your career by being prepared to say yes to a lot of different things. Spend the beginning of your career by committing to learn and do more. Taking on new challenges and various opportunities will allow you to diversify your skills.

Hone Your Skills

Haberman gives advice for journalism and public relations majors to try various styles of writing. Some include, fiction, non-fiction, headline writing, social media, and blogging. Be sure to try it all! Trying different styles of writing helps writers discover their voice and understand what opinions they have.

Face Fear

“The biggest thing I learned was the importance of getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things that terrify you,” Haberman said. “It taught me perseverance, and how to figure out what you want to build a roadmap to get where you want to go.”

Accept Constructive Criticism

“You have to be OK with rejection and ask, ‘What can I do differently, and what can I do better?’, Haberman said. “You have to be obsessed with evolution and progress.” This contributes to your growth in your career and will allow you to become increasingly better.