Media industry alumni to speak

Students pursing a career in media will have the chance today to pick the brains of UH alumni who have found their niche in the media industry.

Five former Cougars who represent a range of different media outlets from TV, radio and the newspaper industry will share their personal, educational and professional experiences with students at UH Media Homecoming.

"It’s important to hear from veterans in the industry," communication professor Mike Emery said. "You can get a lot in the classroom, but it’s important to hear from people in the field also.

At the event, sponsored by the student chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, the panelists will also impart advice to students on preparing for their future.

Guest speakers will include Doug Miller, KHOU veteran reporter, 790 AM afternoon sports announcer Dave Dalati, Houston Chronicle arts reporter Douglas Britt, sports blogger Jared Barnes and UH Staff Media representative and veteran radio reporter Marisa Ramirez.

"Students will be able to get an idea of how much the industry has changed and will be changing, as well as what they expect," said Emery, who also serves as the faculty adviser for the student chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

In addition to teaching, Emery is also a University Communication media representative and has worked as a publishing manager and writer for many Texas-based newspapers and magazines outside the UH system.

"A lot of people don’t realize that many people on TV, radio and at the (Houston) Chronicle graduated from UH… even outside of Houston," Emery said. "In addition to helping students within the industry by offering insight on what to expect, (UH Media Homecoming) is a good way to welcome back UH students and celebrate their success."

The speakers will also participate in an audience-administered question and answer session slated to follow the panel discussion.

"(Tonight) ask the panel a lot of questions because they’ve already figured out the answers," said Ramirez, who began her career working as a reporter and anchor at several radio news stations in both Houston and San Antonio.

"I am always excited when young people show interest in communication I love this major because it accompanies many fields," Ramirez said. "I became involved because I was once a student who had those types of questions."

While at 740 KTRH, Ramirez met fellow UH graduate Dalati, who helped her make the decision to join the UH family.

We often talked about me coming to UH I asked questions and he offered advice, but my mind was already made up, Ramirez said.

After more than a decade in the industry, Ramirez came back to serve as a media representative in the Office of University Communication.

UH Media Homecoming, for the newly formed IABC, will be their largest event to date. Since the student group was established in Spring 2008, it has hosted events such as Goodbye to Seniors, a panel and question and answer session of young professionals. This semester because of Hurricane Ike, many of their planned events were cancelled, such as Pizza with the Pros, a lunch time attempt to unite media focused students with professionals.

With homecoming less than a week away, IABC President and public relations senior Lauren Fry said she believes an alumni-focused event may be the ideal segue to the campuswide event.

"We knew we wanted this to be a big meeting, but it happens to fall perfectly with homecoming," Fry said.

After majoring in Public Relations and speaking with many PR professionals, Fry realized her ideas to jump-start into a dream job may not be as fast as she had hoped.

"(With this panel tonight), I want students to realize it may take longer. The industry is hard, but you can get to it," Fry said. "You just may have to fight for it."

UH Media Homecoming will be held 5:30 p.m. today in the University Center, Aegean Room. Admission is free.

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