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Diversity in the Newsroom and Standing Out in the Media Landscape

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SOC AUABJ Voices 2016

On February 6, American University Association of Black Journalists (AUABJ) hosted its second annual Voices panel in the Media Innovation Lab. This year’s panel discussion revolved around trends in new media, branding, and standing out among the masses within the media landscape.

Panelists for the diverse media panel included AU alum, Arienne Thompson of MoKi Media PR, Melissa Macaya, co-president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of National Association of Hispanic Journalists and digital producer for CNN en Español, and Patricia Guadalupe, vice president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of National Association of Hispanic Journalists and freelancer for NBC News Latino and Latino Magazine. Seung Min Kim, the Washington, D.C. chapter of Asian American Journalists Association president and Politico reporter was unfortunately unable to attend because of travel issues.

The event began with AUABJ secretary and panel moderator, Elisha Brown, asking the panelists questions about to staying true to their own personal brand, and how each deals with being a person of color in the workplace.

Guadalupe swears by the magic of social media tagging, no matter what platform it is, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. "One effective thing to do is to tag who you want to see your things,” said Guadalupe. “People that see your work may pass it along."

Macaya and Thompson had great gems of wisdom when it comes to your personal brand. "Make sure you're telling a story with your personal brand; there needs to be a personal thread in your social media," said Macaya. Thompson sounded a cautionary note. "You don't want to be the drunk reporter who's on Vine for forever and ever,” she said. “You're still your brand."

Once questions opened up to the audience, topics about using your diverse differences to your advantage, joining professional organizations and finding your passion provided great dialogue.

Here are some pieces of advice that the panelists gave:

Thompson on how to be objective while staying true to your brand: "Still be a real journalist and hold institutions accountable for what they are or aren't doing"

Macaya on being bilingual: "My culture and my bilingualness has been so helpful. It's using your culture and language to educate people"

Thompson on covering issues involving diversity: "Think about how to attack issues of diversity in business, fashion, technology, whatever area you’re interested in."

Guadalupe on the future of diversity in the field: "The future looks very bright for diverse people."

Macaya on the intersection of diversity and professionalism: "Always think about how your background and your story can add value."

And to wrap it up,  Thompson gave students some very useful, but practical advice when it comes to creating the career you want, "Challenge yourself,” she said. “Be outside the classroom."

To see more advice given by the panelists, check out AU Association of Black Journalists' Twitter page.