Adviser Update Adviser Update Winter 2018 | Page 14

Getting the Most Out of Guest Speakers PUT A PLAN IN PLACE AND A GUEST SPEAKER CAN REENERGIZE YOUR STUDENT NEWSROOM By Jim Burns K eeping up staff enthusiasm, especially before spring break or during college acceptance period, challenges even the best advisers. And, there are no doubt times when our own enthusiasm could use a bit of a tweak. But there’s an easy way to inject some staff snap without the expense, both in time and travel, of attending a national conference: Bring a professional journalist to campus. Guest speakers are a sure antidote to staff fatigue and have the added benefit of instilling passion for the profession in students, as well as possibly widening students’ internship and industry contact networks. So, in that spirit, here are some tips for effective use of in-class speakers: Who to approach? By far the easiest professionals to pitch are alumni. They already possess a special connection to campus, and are probably enjoying their current success based, at least in part, on the efforts of your school or college. The Society of Professional Journalists just announced its #Press4Education iniative that helps match working journalists with classrooms. Failing that, try a Google search of any recent journalism conference in your area. Chances are speakers for these events will be open-minded about speaking to your class or media outlet. And, as a bonus, they will be used to speaking to a group. Preparation No matter how terrific a journalist, it’s probably been some time since he or she has been in a classroom. Kids can be scary (ask any parent), especially when they’re in a group, all looking at you. For that matter, students can be bored, inattentive—fill in the adjective—and it’s important to let the speaker know what to expect