WDET opened its doors to Wayne State students in the public relations and journalism program. Jerome Vaughn, News Director & Host of “All Things Considered” guided students through the station, offering insight and advice to students interested in a career or internship. As a Detroit native and someone who has been with WDET since 1992, Jerome serves as an excellent mentor. He runs the news internship program, providing opportunities for students who desire a future in public radio.
Throughout the tour, Jerome introduced the students to the many people who make up the working parts of WDET. From social media and event planning, to campaigns and fundraising, students gained insight to the possible career choices in their future.
Through his experience in broadcast journalism, Jerome has created relationships with many public relations practitioners, some exceeding over 20 years. These relationships have provided Jerome with valuable advice for future PR professionals. After the tour, Jerome opened up a round table discussion between the himself and students.
As someone who receives hundreds of emails daily, Jerome recommends not using generic subject lines or ones that imply there is an existing relationship if one hasn’t been established yet. To capture the interest of readers and journalist, he stresses the importance of researching the media outlets and journalist before sending pitches. Also, once a pitch has been sent, it is incredibly important to be available to answer questions a journalist might have. Public relations professionals should always be available.
Even after hours of creating the perfect pitch, sometimes they still get buried amongst the mass emails journalist receive. Although it may be a creative pitch and interesting angle, the stories that impact the most people will be the ones who receive coverage. Keeping this in mind, Jerome recommends that students get use to rejection.
Through experience and through internships, pre-professionals will not only learn what works for them, but what does not as well. All which Jerome said is equally important. He said this will help students be certain of the path and direction they want to follow, for it won’t be an easy road to get there.
Jerome left students with these final words of advice, “have determination, be persistent, and have perseverance.”
Lauren Van Haaren is in her junior year, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She would like to gain experience in social media and media relations, helping companies build brand awareness and grow their network. In her spare time, she likes to attend local events and stay up to date on business trends within the city of Detroit.