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Com Class Field Trip Delivers Valuable Lessons

June 2, 2011

Who would have guessed that class field trips still existed after earning a high school diploma? Granted, I don’t want to mislead anyone; there were no brown bag lunches, bus buddies or nervous teachers constantly doing a headcount (although that’s always funny to watch). The field trip I’m referring to places 19 University of Washington students in the middle of a bustling magazine office, learning the ways of the publication process.

As a part of Karen Rathe’s Publication Design class, a mix of Communication and Journalism students received a tour of Seattle Metropolitan magazine’s downtown office. Led by managing editor Ariana Dawes, the presentation consisted of a quick walk around the cubicles–and seeing that the walk was four minutes, when I say ‘quick,’ I mean quick–and a question and answer session in Seattle Met’s eclectic, art-deco conference room.

Going around the conference table, each COM 491 student shared their career aspirations, many of which were related to writing and publishing magazines or newspapers. There were copy editors, sports writers, feature writers, and page designers–most of whom believe print journalism is far from dead (or that may just be my bias coming out, because if print media really does ‘die,’ I’m going to have to rethink my entire future and I’m sorry, but that’s not something I would particularly enjoy right now).

But overall, Dawes stressed the fact that in today’s advanced media atmosphere, journalists need to know how to do everything.

“Today it’s expected that you know how to write, shoot photos and edit video,” she says.

And leaving my class with the take home message of the field trip, Dawes emphasized the following idea–which quite frankly, I believe every student should take to heart.

“As long as you’re prepared, someone out there will hire you.”

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