Reporters Give Students a Look Into News Business at Yearly Forums


Nathan Dunlap and Tyler Seale

Bucks hosted the Journalism Forums on April 17 and 18 at the Newtown Campus, offering students a peek at the deadline-based career called “the news business.”
For April 17, the panel included journalist Shane Fitzgerald, Dana O’Neil and Mike Sielski. On April 18, jounalism professionals Marion Callahan, Tom Sofield, and Rick Rickman presented.
All six of the speakers started small in their respective fields, O’Neil a senior writer at the Athletic started by covering 11 to 12-year-old baseball games. From their it was all uphill, as she went from the Philadelphia Daily News to ESPN covering college basketball, to becoming a writer at the Athletic.
O’Neil is a very successful woman journalist in a male dominated field. As always being judged harder, looked at different and had the odds set against her, she defied the norms and become a notable person in her field of expertise. As Mrs. O’Neil said “you have to be tough, know who you are as a person and to have thick skin.”
Sielski received high praise as The Associated Press Sports Editors named him the top sports columnist in America in 2015. The Philadelphia native happens to also be the author of two sports books. Sielski currently a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer put out about three to four articles a week.
As he has grown into a household name in the Philadelphia region his views have a sense of trust. Sielski expressed that “people believe what they read” and you have their trust.
One of the most powerful men in buck’s country with media and news is Fitzgerald. He oversees content for daily news organizations including the Bucks County Courier Times.
The speakers also touched on the evolving industry of Journalism.
When asked for advice for aspiring journalism majors Fitzgerald said, “The most important thing to do is to get your first step in the door.”
Callahan stated, “I started with print, but the reason I am sitting here is that I embraced change and stayed a student.”
This showed to be true as Callahan initially left her job at the Intelligencer to learn how to properly create news videos and ended up going back to the Intelligencer to help run their video team.
Callahan continued, “40 percent of the job is shooting and creating video. I really enjoy it and think it has helped me become a better writer.” This represented how new innovations and reporting trends within the industry can help an experienced professional improve a core skill such as writing.
Panelist Rickman is the news director at WBCB radio and gave insight into news radio. Rickman stated, “news radio is evolving as stations have websites and live streams now.” From print to video and radio the industry as a whole is changing and will continue to.
Insight from these guests has shown that remaining adaptive and building human connections are aspects that help one survive and remain satisfied with a career in journalism.