Building a business in a class

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Well what a whirlwind three years it has been since I declared my journalism major. As I am writing this blog, I am finishing my capstone and drinking a coffee. I am also celebrating the freedom of being a second semester senior and relishing in the fact that I will fly home tomorrow with my partner.

Entrepreneurial Media was a useful class, but I think I learned more about my classmates than the actual learning objectives. It was a unique bonding experience to be thrown into a mix of journalism majors and expected to create business plans for companies we invented. The journalism major as a whole doesn’t usually include many classes in how to create a business so the sheer effort it took to build something from the ground up kept us connected.

Since the journalism major has three tracts (public relations, advertising and news) and many of us choose to double major, a few students – myself included – felt that the distribution of talent was uneven. For example, putting two or more PR majors in a group and then judging their presentation against a presentation put together by three news majors might not have resulted in consistent presentations.

That being said the group I worked with was wonderful. Given that we are all involved in the student newspaper we built a business designed to restore the public’s trust in mass media. It was a lofty goal and one that probably could have used some PR gloss and graphic design shine to make it truly sparkle. Nevertheless the three of us were as proud of Tripartisan as we could be.

Our business plan addressed what we felt, as millennials, is lacking in the mainstream media. Ask any millennial and they’ll tell you they’re overworked, underpaid and underemployed. Our consumption of media is limited to what we can enjoy from social media in the few free minutes we have during the week. The media has yet to fully grasp this and thus generally publishes articles attacking our generation rather than working to understand our demographic. Tripartisan embraced the millennial generation’s tendency to question, their need for quick consumption and their overall distrust of anyone telling them they have all the answers. We built Tripartisan for ourselves and for Generation Z.

I certainly learned how to adapt in Entrepreneurial Media and I appreciate the dedication and work my partners put into this project. Our business may never see the light of day but we are incredibly grateful for the freedom to create.

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Empathy, writing, and data, oh my

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My superpower is my ability to empathize with those around me. Although many of my colleagues experience sympathy, empathy is defined as the actual understanding and sharing of another person’s feelings (Google Dictionary). Sympathy, on the other hand, is defined as the feeling of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune (Google Dictionary).

As a professional my ability to empathize allows me to succeed in all manner of interpersonal situations. For example when a customer calls ranting and raving, although I may be upset by what they are saying, I understand that in the broader picture they are hurting. While working in customer service at Lowe’s, I saw that my ability to rationalize the customer’s fury often diffused the situation.

Empathy

Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com and Jack Moreh

I am by nature a quiet person, which some people take as an invitation to walk all over me. What they don’t often anticipate is that my strength is in my silence. When people are allowed to express their frustration to a receptive ear, they are also more likely to relax when they see the situation being remedied.

The professional workforce depends on people who can communicate effectively and interpret the customers’ desires into action. My other superpower is my ability to incorporate the hard skills I’ve learned from both the political science department and the journalism department. Journalism taught me about competent communication while political science taught me to look for patterns within the world around me.

Although the classes I have taken are wildly different, the skills afforded to me by these classes are irreplaceable. For example, in political science I’ve learned about data interpretation but in journalism I’ve learned how to clearly and concisely communicate the results of my data in a way that makes sense to the general populace and not just other political scientists. Essentially each skillset builds on the other’s, giving me the opportunity to move between the world of academia and the real world with little issue.

In short I am marketable because of both my soft skills and my hard skills. My ability to interpret data and write with clarity connects me to the world of academia, but my ability to empathize with those around me grounds me in the reality. Lacking either skill, I would be far less marketable.