Tom Hanaway shares “Midwest in the Far East” experience

31 10 2011

By Tom Hanaway (@tomhanaway)

By the time students graduate, most get the chance to showcase the skills they learned while in college: biology students present research, art students show their work in exhibits and music students perform at recitals. Journalism students really don’t have a similar event. We get articles published and photos printed, but we never get anything as glamorous as hundreds of people showing up to view our unique talents.

That’s what made The Midwest in the Far East so special to me. It was a time to show what I did this past spring interim and teach people about a country halfway around the world.

From late May to early June, journalism lecturer Grace Lim, journalism student Kristen Manders and I journeyed along with math education and business students to China for a study abroad trip. Kristen and I were multimedia interns while Grace was our fearless leader. Our job was to document the trip by writing a feature story and creating photo galleries, audio podcasts and videos. During the summer we put of all of this material together and did follow-up interviews with students who went on the trip. It might sound like an easy task, but editing dozens of podcasts and combing through thousands of pictures was quite an undertaking.

On Oct. 12, Grace, Kristen and I helped host The Midwest in the Far East in the Reeve Theatre where we presented our work including several videos showing the highlights from the trip. The audience got to witness the math education students teaching lessons in classrooms and the business students touring factories and businesses.  Also in the Steinhilber Art Gallery were photos from the trip, which is the closest I will ever get to having my art hang in a museum.

The best part of the event was seeing former classmates and professors show up and compliment me on a job well done. It was great to see so many people that had such an impact on my life view the pictures I took and listen to the interviews I conducted.

This was one of the many unique opportunities that the Department of Journalism gave me. At some schools, professors rarely remember students’ names, but at UW Oshkosh they fully support you every step of your education, even showing up to events to personally congratulate you on the work you’ve done.

Click here to read more about The Midwest in the Far East.

Tom Hanaway is a 2011 graduate of UW Oshkosh with a major in  journalism. He formerly interned in social media for the Journalism Department and Reeve Union. 


My experience at the Milwaukee County Zoo and the importance of internships

26 10 2011

By Molly Guendert (@mollyguendert)

Being a college student is no walk in the park. Not only do we have to do a ton of work while in school, but then we have to worry about getting jobs after graduation to pay back all of the debt we’ve accumulated. Getting a job won’t be easy either. There are thousands of other students graduating with you, and a good amount of them are looking for a job in the same field as you. So here’s the big question: what can you do to make yourself stand out to an employer? Luckily I have the answer, internships! I was lucky enough to be the Milwaukee County Zoo’s public relations and social media intern last summer, and it was an incredible experience.

Hands on experience

Internships are a great way to get hands on experience in your field of interest. My bosses were experts in the PR field and I learned a great amount from them during my time as an intern. They taught me things such as how to write a proper news release, how to work with other professionals in the field and how news conferences function. I also got to attend meetings with them so I could get a taste of how the PR department interacted with other departments, such as the creative department and the zookeepers, at the zoo. The things that I learned from my internship are not things that could be learned in class or from a book.

Applying your skills

In addition to learning new things at my internship, I also got to apply skills I have already perfected. An example of this is that I created and maintained the zoo’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, since they did not have these. I knew more about what people would want to see on these pages than my bosses, so they gave me the freedom to post what I saw fit. In my three months at the zoo, the Facebook page I created went from zero likes to 430 likes and is still growing. Not only was this a great opportunity for the zoo, but also it was incredibly rewarding to watch the zoo’s social media presence grow.

The importance of internships

Some college students don’t realize how important internships are. According to Aramark, students who have completed at least one internship during their college time had a 60 percent better chance of landing a full-time job straight out of college than those who didn’t. Students who’ve completed two internships had a 90 percent chance, and those who held three internships had a 100 percent chance of full-time employment. Reading these numbers should encourage you to get out there and find internships, because they are great experiences that can only help you down the road!

Are you looking for an internship? Check out the Journalism Department’s page for internship opportunities or visit UW Oshkosh’s Career Services to create a Titan Jobs account and find an internship today!

UWO J-Alumni Panel Session: “How the J-Dept. helped get me from here (Oshkosh) to there (where I am today)”

24 10 2011

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

As part of the UW Oshkosh Journalism Department Homecoming 2011 festivities, the department hosted a panel session on Oct. 21 entitled “How the J-Department helped get me from here (Oshkosh) to there (where I am today).”

The panel featured four J-Department alumni: Mike Fredrick ’97, Pat Stiegman ’88, Mary Callen ’95 and Laura Denissen ’99. Set in Sage Hall, the panel discussion covered topics such as internships, jobs, networking and ethics within the media industry.

Fredrick, creative director at Bader Rutter in Milwaukee, was awarded an Outstanding Young Alumni Award by UW Oshkosh’s Alumni Association. When Fredrick came to UWO, he knew that he wanted to go into advertising. He began his college career in the school of business, but figured out quickly that he wasn’t any good at accounting.

Fredrick said that while he was at UWO, he enjoyed his classes with Dr. Tsao, a previous professor in the J-Department. Tsao’s teaching style took students away from the textbook and gave them real hands-on experiences in advertisement.

A former member of ad club, Fredrick was one five students to advance to the NSAC national competition where they placed in the top 10. Four out of the five students who went to this competition later received alumni awards from UWO.

Fredrick gave some useful tips on how to find your dream job. As an advertisement professional, he encouraged students to build a strong portfolio with real-world work. Never having to resort to job postings to find employment, Fredrick told the audience of students, faculty and alumni to be persistent in whatever endeavors they may face. He said that you can’t wait around for opportunity to find you; you have to make it happen yourself.

Another panel member who received an alumni award was Stiegman. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given out by the Alumni Association.

Stiegman is the vice president and editor-in-chief of in Connecticut. He was born and raised in Madison and always thought he’d attend UW-Madison. However, he knew he wanted to go into journalism and at that time, UW Oshkosh was the only campus with an accredited program. To Stiegman, pursuing a career in journalism was a no-brainer.

Stiegman said that the skills he learned while at UWO are still applicable today in his professional career. As a college student, he worked for the Oshkosh Northwestern, which wet his appetite for more reporting. Stiegman later went on to work for the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal.

He encouraged students to pursue their dreams and to never give up. Stiegman said that he doesn’t believe in settling for a mediocre position, and he urged students to do the same.

“Find the rhythm of what you want to do,” Stiegman said.

He highly encouraged students to immerse themselves in internships, because it helps “turn theories into practice.” Through internships, you can learn invaluable experiences and build the fundamental skills you need, Stiegman said.

When it comes to landing a job in the journalism field, Stiegman advised students to network aggressively, join clubs and work with professors because they may have contacts in the industry.

Stiegman also touched lightly on the issue of ethics in his career.

“It’s a constant struggle between being first and being right,” he said.

Sitting on the other side of the panel were Callen and Denissen. Callen is the communication director for The Wisconsin Newspaper Association. As a student, she knew she wanted to be a newspaper reporter/editor, but her family discouraged her, saying that she would never find a decent job. Despite their warning, Callen pursued her dream career anyway.

She worked part time at The Oshkosh Northwestern as a stringer for sports reporting. Callen then moved to the newsroom as an intern. During her senior year at UWO, Callen put her classes on hold to work at a small newspaper in Ripon. She also worked part time at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County.

Callen also encouraged students to apply for internships because that’s where “you get the big audience,” she said. When it comes to getting a professional job, she urged students to build a strong portfolio, practice interviewing, do their homework on potential employers and attend industry conferences.

Denissen, who is the marketing product manager at Harley-Davidson, came to UWO wanting to major in journalism. She joined the ad club and The Advance-Titan. After graduating, Denissen got her first job in Chicago in advertising and public relations. She now works for Harley-Davidson where her writing and social networking skills have benefited her greatly.

Denissen stressed the issue of networking when the panel discussion shifted to internships and jobs. She encouraged students to network and find a mentor. Mentors will become your job references, Denissen said. She also urged students not to burn any bridges along their career path and to monitor their social media presence in an age of social networking revolution.

“It’s a small world,” Denissen said.

Join in Homecoming festivities as Journalism Dept. welcomes alumni, friends

18 10 2011

Students, alumni and the general public are invited to join the Department of Journalism for a special reunion during Homecoming 2011. Events will be held at Sage Hall, the new academic building, and alumni are encouraged to share memories while seeing the latest happenings in the journalism department. Activities include:
Friday, Oct. 21
1-2:15 p.m. “Social Media Tweetup” in Sage Hall Room 3232 — An interactive conversation for students and professionals about the latest in social media for writing, advertising, public relations and visual led by Troy Janisch ’89, social media manager at American Family Insurance

2:30-3:45 p.m. “How the Department of Journalism Helped Get Me From Here (Oshkosh) to There (Where I’m at Today)” in Sage Hall Room 3232. Panelists include Pat Stiegman ’88, vice president and editor in chief of digital media at; Mike Fredrick ’97, creative director at Bader Rutter in Milwaukee; Laura Denissen ’99, marketing product planning manager, Harley-Davidson; and Mary Callen ’93, communications director at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

•4-5 p.m. Tours, displays and refreshments in the Journalism Department, Sage Hall, 3rd Floor

• 5 p.m. Reception, 6 p.m. Dinner/Program Alumni Awards Dinner, Reeve Union Ballroom, 227. Journalism alumni receiving awards include Pat Stiegman ’88, Distinguished Alumni Award; Mike Fredrick ‘97, Outstanding Young Alumni Award; and Lori Kraus ’02, senior promotion placement coordinator for on-air promotion at CNN in Atlanta. Outstanding Young Alumni Award Dinner reservations are $25 per person. For more information call (920) 424-3449 or toll-free at (877) 896-2586

Saturday, Oct. 22
9 a.m. – Noon. Tours, displays and continental breakfast in the Journalism Department, Sage Hall, 3rd Floor

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — University-wide activities. Pregame celebration at Tent City, on Josslyn Street behind the UW Oshkosh softball field, close to the Oshkosh Sports Complex. Includes free food, refreshments and live music.

1:30 p.m. — Football game vs. UW Whitewater, at J.J. Keller Field at the Oshkosh Sports Complex • Tickets available on site. Free shuttle transportation between campus and the sports complex runs every 20 minutes from 1 to 4 p.m.

After the game —Fifth Quarter at Hilton Garden Inn, 20th Avenue. Complimentary refreshments

To RSVP or for more information, contact Cindy Schultz at

Social Media Tweetup

18 10 2011

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)
On Friday, Oct. 21, the Journalism Department will hold a Social Media Tweetup, featuring alumnus Troy Janisch ’89, social media manager at American Family Insurance.

Students and professionals are welcome to join in an interactive conversation about the latest in social media for writing, advertising, public relations and visual.

There will be free cookies and a chance to win a gift card!

Panel Session: “How the Department of Journalism helped me get from here (Oshkosh) to there (where I’m at today)”

17 10 2011

Friday, Oct. 21 from 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Sage Hall 3232

Featuring two UWO Alumni Award winners, Pat Stiegman ’88, vice president and editor in chief of digital media at and Mike Fredrick ’97, creative director at Bader Rutter in Milwaukee.

Also with Mary Callen ’95, communications director for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and Laura Denissen ’99, marketing product planning manager for Harley-Davidson.

“Your lead, Our story” campaign launch

13 10 2011

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

This year for Homecoming 2011, the Journalism Department is trying something new! To connect and strengthen relations with the department’s alumni, Dr. Sara Hansen and the social media team has asked more than 500 alumni to share their success stories with us.

Through a campaign titled “Your lead, Our story,” we asked alumni to tell us in two to three sentences how the Journalism Department impacted their lives and careers. As of right now, more than 30 people have already responded by filling out our quick Survey Monkey questionnaire. These leads will be shared with Journalism Department students and staff via Twitter, our blog and displays throughout the department.

Not only will contributing these leads help alumni feel included in the Journalism Department’s history and future, but current and prospective students will be able to witness for themselves how the Journalism Department can help launch them into successful careers.

Here are some notable leads from our remarkable alumni:

“I would not be where I am today without the knowledge and education I gained through the UW Oshkosh Journalism Department. My degree allowed me to work in the newsroom on the front lines and take in feeds of major news events, from the Olympics to the war abroad. The experience I gained through the advertising and  PR classes helped me cross over to the marketing department and use this SAME degree where I promote the CNN brand, as well as the many other networks under the Turner Broadcasting umbrella.”

-Lori Kraus ’02, senior promotion placement coordinator, CNN

“UWO is where I found myself. In the Journalism Department, I learned how to perfect a sentence, how to copy edit, how to have fun and take risks with design and how to work well with others creatively. It’s easy to be creative on your own, but learning to feed off the opinions of others and making your work even better is rarely taught prior to the real world. I thank the Journalism Department for my tough creative skin, because in advertising and publishing, you need it.”

-Jeff Griffith ’87, creative director, Rodale Publishing

“Faculty in the Journalism Department taught me to be inquisitive, ask the tough questions and to write concisely and accurately. My degree enabled to me become a newspaper reporter and editor, and now serves me well as a freelance writer and editor. That’s why I’m also proud to be the Journalism Department’s internship coordinator. I love giving back to the department that gave me so much.”

-Barb Benish ‘83 and MBA ’91, internship coordinator, UW Oshkosh Journalism Department

“To borrow a sports cliché, my experience at UW Oshkosh provided the foundation on which all success is built: I perfected my editorial blocking and tackling in the lecture halls of the Journalism Department, honed my technique on the pages of the Advance-Titan and Oshkosh Northwestern and discovered my journalistic instincts – instincts later forged with experience into voice and perspective that has served me as a writer, columnist, editor, digital journalist and eventually editor-in-chief of”

-Pat Stiegman ’88, vice president and editor-in-chief,

Are YOU a J-Department alumni? Submit your lead here: