Journalists of the future will need to help the public discern truth from fiction.

That was some of the advice from about 20 alumni of the Southern Connecticut State University Journalism Department, who returned to campus Nov. 30 to network with current students.

Sidney Jones, a journalism student at Southern, talks with sports reporters during the Journalism Alumni Night Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

Sidney Jones, a journalism student at Southern, talks with sports reporters during the Journalism Alumni Night Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

“Our function depends on a contract of integrity,”  said Corey Fyke, a digital and news editor at The Westerly Sun, during a roundtable discussion about the state of the journalism industry.

The annual Journalism Alumni night was sponsored by the SCSU SPJ chapter. During the event, at the Adanti Student Center, alumni gave advice on internships, freelancing and finding that first job.

Juliemar Ortiz, a reporter at the New Haven Register, at Journalism Alumni night, Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

Juliemar Ortiz, a reporter at the New Haven Register, at Journalism Alumni night, Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

After more than an hour of networking, the professionals weighed in about what students will face when they enter the journalism industry.

Their tips highlighted concerns among media professionals today, including a lack of trust of the media, fake news circulating online, and less access to important officials.

“There’s so many people who won’t talk to you, for no reason at all, just because they don’t trust you,” said Juliemar Ortiz, a reporter for the New Haven Register.

Jim Fuller, a sports reporter at the New Haven Register said college coaches have tight control over their players and the message that comes out from a team, which makes it hard to access players for stories.

“It’s an interesting dynamic,” he said.

Diane Lazarus, a journalism student at Southern, listens to alumni during a "speed dating" networking event at the Journalism Alumni Night Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

Diane Lazarus, a journalism student at Southern, listens to alumni during a “speed dating” networking event at the Journalism Alumni Night Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

Claudia Ward-de Leon, who works in the public relations department at Naugatuck Valley Community College, said students should expose themselves to different viewpoints and news outlets.

“It’s our duty. We have so much information, but you can’t be lazy about it,” she said.

She followed up with two bits of advice:

“Two words: critical thinking,” said Ward-de Leon. “And live outside your comfort zone.”

 

Featured image: Aaron Johnson, a reporter for the Connecticut Post, talks with students and alumni of Southern’s Journalism Department, Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo. 

Professor Jerry Dunklee leads a discussion during the annual Journalism Alumni Night at Southern Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo

Professor Jerry Dunklee leads a discussion during the annual Journalism Alumni Night at Southern Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo

Ed Crowder, a spokesman for United Illuminating Co., makes a point during a discussion at Journalism Alumni Night Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

Ed Crowder, a spokesman for United Illuminating Co., makes a point during a discussion at Journalism Alumni Night Nov. 30. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo.

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