Woodlief and Wilson share advice with Elon University students on communications future

April 6, 2009 at 2:27 am Leave a comment

Elon Communications advisory board shares advice with aspiring journalists on the future of the Communications Field.

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 3, 2009

Entitlement. A word that the millennial generation seems to embrace and see as a way of life. This new generation has never experienced serious economic downfall or a serious conflict until recently.

Entitlement is this generation’s way of life but it is not something that will get them very far in our world’s current economic state.

“Do not own that word,” Debora Wilson, former President and CEO of Weather.com said. “Come into the work force and think how you can add value.”

Debora Wilson and Graham Woodlief share advice with communication students

Debora Wilson and Graham Woodlief share advice with communication students

That is just some of the advice that Elon University journalism students received on Friday from Debora Wilson and Graham Woodlief, members of the School of Communications advisory board.

Wilson, former President and CEO of Weather.com, helped to launch the site in 1995. Wilson is also responsible for developing Weather Channel Radio Network, the syndication of weather pages to newspapers, and the development of next-generation digital television, wireless, and interactive-TV service. In the future she hopes to run another media company and engage in more community efforts.

Woodlief works as vice president of Media General Inc., and president of the publishing division since 1998. He oversees 25 daily and about 100 non-daily publications. Media General owns 19 television properties, including WFLA-TV in Tampa-St. Petersburg and WNCN-TV in Raleigh-Durham, and dozens of daily and weekly newspapers in five Southern states, including The Tampa Tribune, The Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Winston-Salem Journal.

While the work in very different fields of the communications industry they both had a lot of good advice for communication students. They spoke to an upper level reporting course as well as an introductory course.

Both Wilson and Woodlief were given the opportunity to share some of their experiences with students but than turned the mic over to the students. Students had the opportunity to ask them anything they wanted about these two industries however, the main focus seemed to be in what direction is journalism heading and what will await future journalists as they prepare for the real world.

“Newspapers are going to be around for a while,” Woodlief said. “I truly believe a print product will be around for a long time.”

Both Woodlief and Wilson are optimistic about the future of journalism and of continued success for the field of communications.

“We are in an economic recession and that effects everyone,” Wilson said. “But this happens, it will pass and we will continue to be successful.”

While students may fear the challenges that await them in this economic crisis, Woodlief and Wilson see these challenges as opportunities.

“Embrace the challenges that professionals throw at you,” Wilson said.

“Don’t worry about some failures,” Woodlief said. “Everybody fails but with failure comes success.”

While the future may be unclear Woodlief and Wilson hope that students will brace uncertainty and use this as an opportunity to chart their own course and make a mark in the journalistic field.

“Take this opportunity to step up and lead,” Wilson said. “The industry needs for independent thinkers who are ready to take charge and take action. Do not wait for an opportunity to approach you, look for the chance to create you own opportunities.”

See Debora Wilson share her advice:



Entry filed under: Journalism. Tags: , , , , , .

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