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Buzz Newspaper experience helpful

September 2012

"The Buzz" is not just for communication majors. And it is certainly not an exclusive club for journalism students. Working on the school paper is for everyone. That is the word from some recent SAU graduates who spent a lot of their time at SAU working on "The Buzz." They say that experience came in handy when looking for–and getting–a job after graduation. 

"'The Buzz' could be used by any major," said Brittany Muntz '12, who now works at Dupaco Community Credit Union as a member service representative. "Good writing skills are important no matter what you do in life, and writing for 'The Buzz' has done nothing but enhance my writing. For students who are majoring in something non-related, learning adequate writing skills is even more important because they do not receive these skills as in-depth as communication majors do."

Rachel Sarafin '11, a solutions account associate at The Hon Company, agreed.

"Writing is a skill that everyone needs–regardless of career or major," Sarafin said. "I see emails every day that are a run-on sentence mess, and I also encounter wordiness, when people use five words when two will do. 'The Buzz' helped me with that–writing concise, meaningful sentences that get the job done."

"The Buzz" has been housed in the College of Business for nearly 10 years, after having a home in the College of Health and Human Services for about 20. It is open to all St. Ambrose students, regardless of major. 

There are other skills in addition to writing that can be learned working on the school paper. Joe Jarosz '11 is a reporter at the Muscatine Journal. He said it helped him become a better listener.

"I had never written for a school paper or newsletter before," Jarosz said. "I knew I was a good writer, but journalistic writing is different. A good portion of what I was writing depended on me listening attentively and taking good notes, because if I didn't, my stories would suffer.

"Also–something people might not think of–I became better at small talk," Jarosz continued. "This benefits me both in my professional and personal world. In the professional world, I can't just jump right into stories. Small talk helps me build a good rapport with my contacts. In my personal life, it helps me be more social."

Working for "The Buzz" allows students to put into practice what they're learning in the classroom.

"I'm more confident when speaking in front of someone, whether it is a stranger or a group of people," Muntz said. "I've also learned teamwork/group work skills through 'The Buzz' and how to give and take constructive criticism. These are the kind of skills you use in everyday life as well as the professional world."

And Jarosz loved the variety of his experiences at The Buzz. He initially only wanted to do movie reviews, but he was soon tackling a wide variety of stories.

"For a shy, first-year student like myself, I was able to meet a lot more people by working on The Buzz," Jarosz said. "You're forced to interact with people. Yes, I know that is true for any profession, but with the Buzz it was different. A student could, theoretically, talk to someone playing football and someone in the administrative office all within the same week."

Working with disparate "Buzz" staff members gives students a glimpse of what real work life is like. 

"I learned how to work on a team that didn't always get along," Sarafin said. "We had all kinds of different personalities, styles and work ethics, and we made it work most of the time. That's a skill that translates into any major or career."

Dustin Renwick '10 just finished his master's in journalism at University of Missouri at Columbia and is working at the "The Daily Herald" in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. This fall he starts a job at the EPA in Washington, D.C. Renwick said, "The Buzz forced you to major in teamwork and minor in deadlines and due dates."

Meeting deadlines and dealing with different people successfully can give you a sense of empowerment and confidence when job hunting. Muntz felt one step ahead of the other people out there trying to get a job.

"The work that I produced for 'The Buzz' helped me in every single one of my job interviews," Muntz said. "The stories I produced allowed me to prove myself in terms of my communications skills. It's easy to talk a big game but having proof of your work is a big deal."

Renwick said regardless of your field, employers will always seek skills such good writing, clear speaking, and effective communicating.

"Casually mention your commitment to planning, time-management, and details-focused work," he said. "Then guide an interviewer to your clips. And yes, by the way, you can write a coherent sentence."

There are limitless opportunities for students who work on "The Buzz": writing, editing, photography, sales, public relations, advertising, graphic design, layout, etc. They just have to join to find out what they are.


–Alan Sivell, Communication Department
"The Buzz" faculty advisor 

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