Special Session Introduces Students to Unfamiliar Media Jobs
Connections are the most important part of building a successful career in the media industry, said Justin Dobrow ’17, one of three speakers on the “Media Jobs You Don’t Know About, But Should” special session of the 2021 Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit on Oct 27.
During the discussion, Dobrow, along with Imani Cruz ’17 and Carmen Mendoza ’17, spoke about their careers in the media industry to a group of students and staff in Marano Campus Center. They discussed how they were able to land successful jobs in the industry and have learned from them.
“Connections are important–whether it’s connections you make through LinkedIn, in person, through clubs, whatever it is,” Dobrow said. “I think the media is filled with connections. That’s how it’s been so far my whole career.”
Dobrow said making these connections has been the key to him reaching the success that he has in his career. As a senior at Oswego, he served as the student event coordinator of the college’s Guinness World Record for the longest conga line on ice that was broadcast live by NBC’s Today show, as part of “Rokerthon 3: Storming Into the Madness,” led by Al Roker ’76. Dobrow has worked for NBCUniversal Media, LLC since graduating in 2017.
Mendoza worked with Dobrow in NBC, and now works for SundanceTV. She told students that her media career did not start out as she expected, and that starting from the bottom is very likely to happen.
“When you guys graduate, you might not be a director, you’re not gonna be vice president, you might have to start at the very bottom,” Mendoza said.
She said her first job at a talent agency was to deliver mail and cover desk shifts, which made her even question whether or not she wanted to continue her pursuit of a media career.
“I would say it took me a good four to five years before I finally felt comfortable and happy with where I was,” Mendoza said. “It takes you a while. But starting off at the bottom is so important. You don’t value the hardships if you don’t have to work for it.”
Cruz works as a talent manager for MTV. She has to manage and work with talent from every show on the network, along with developing ideas for new shows.
She said it is another job in which you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. She wants students to be involved right off the bat so that when they enter their media careers, they can be ready and prepared to take on some difficult challenges.
Dobrow also said that when you get experience from being involved in groups such as WTOP (the student-run TV station on campus), it helps you when you step into the workforce even if you have not the experience that exactly fits a specific job.
“Being a good communicator, being able to project manage and be organized, follow up with things… it’s less about your technical skill and more about your soft skills,” Dobrow said. “A lot of things can be teachable, but are you teachable? Are you willing to learn and communicate effectively? That’s what’s most important.”
~Nick Vassenelli ’21
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