The WOUB Job Connection program developed by former students offers student Zanovia Criss a job offer before graduation
ATHENS, OH – When WOUB News student Zanovia Criss of Columbus arrived at the first WOUB Wednesday during the fall semester of 2021, she admits that she just came to eat the free pizza. But what she got out of the session was way more than she had anticipated.
WOUB Wednesdays is a program that gives former WOUB students the opportunity to conduct a virtual conversation with current students and other alumni. The speaker talks about his professional experiences and answers questions from those present. Sessions take place every other Wednesday throughout the semester.
“I had never been to a WOUB Wednesday before. I had no idea what it was at all, ”Criss said. “Retired international news consultant Doug Drew was the speaker and he was so cool. Everything he said about the working process was really helpful, and I had no idea of the process before that. One of Doug’s friends, who was also a former WOUBer, was also on the Zoom call. Retired CIO Mike Rausch spoke a few times during WOUB Wednesday and told us he was coming to Athens in a few days. He encouraged us to come to the WOUB editorial staff to meet him. So a few days later I came to WOUB and met Mike for about an hour. We talked about different ways to get a job as a news producer and how to sell myself. Mike told me he had a few connections with media companies that were interested in partnering with WOUB to recruit students for jobs. Within two days, Mike put me in touch with recruiters from the media company TEGNA.
Criss graduated from Ohio University in May. And after a few conversations with TEGNA, he was offered a job at TEGNA Producer in Residence Program. Criss will debut in June at WCNC-TV in Charlotte, NC, one of television’s top 50 markets.
TEGNA Producer in Residence program is intended for college graduates. It is designed to develop the next major broadcast and digital producers for TEGNA newsrooms across the country. The program includes a two-week producer boot camp, followed by a two-year full-time producer position at a local station.
“It was great to have a contact to put me in touch with recruiters and start the process. The connections Mike made for me have changed my career path in a tremendous way. “
Criss is also part of the WOUB mentorship programwhich started in January 2021. The initiative pairs current students working at the station with former WOUB students who have already used the skills they acquired while working at WOUB to launch successful careers. Where possible, current students are matched with mentors who already hold media positions that the students wanted to pursue. Criss’ mentor is Danielle Sills, CNN content producer, who graduated from Ohio University in 2009.
“Coaching Zanovia was a pleasure because she asks for advice and then acts accordingly. She continually worked hard in the midst of a pandemic when it was anything but easy to set aside time to go to WOUB and hone her craft. I can see how much she has improved over the past year. I look forward to following her career and accomplishments as she continues to grow as a journalist, ”said Sills.
“I loved getting to know Danielle because she provides me with personalized reviews and advice that has helped me grow as a journalist,” said Criss.
“It’s students like Zanovia who are going to make sure we have trustworthy news to watch for years to come,” Sills said. “I couldn’t be more proud to see her succeed and find a great job before she even finishes her final year.”
“I’m really excited about this job,” Criss said. “I couldn’t have done it without all the experiences I had at WOUB.”
After seeing what happened with Criss, Rausch and Drew worked with WOUB to create the WOUB Job Connection Program. The program leverages the connections of former WOUB students in the media industry to forge partnerships between WOUB and media companies seeking graduate students to fill journalism and media production positions at their stations at across the country. As a result, recruiters from TEGNA and Gray Television will be heading to campus in February to interview students from WOUB and Ohio University for paid internships and full-time positions. TEGNA has news stations in 51 markets, while Gray Television currently owns and / or operates television stations and digital properties in 94 television markets.
“We are thrilled that former WOUB students like Mike and Doug are helping create a program that connects our current students to great jobs before they graduate,” said WOUB CEO Mark Brewer. “And through WOUB Wednesdays and our WOUB mentorship programcurrent and former students bond and strengthen the WOUB and Ohio University network in the media industry. “
Criss is now enjoying his last months of school without worrying about finding a job that is weighing on his head.
“I tried never to miss another WOUB Wednesday. Before it gets there first WOUB WednesdayI did not understand the value of meeting former WOUBers and hearing the experiences of those who work in the industry. It helped me feel confident to hear their stories and what they had to go through in their careers to get to where they are today. I didn’t really understand the different ways a media job could manifest later in your life. Speaking with former students helped me understand what my life might be like later, ”said Criss. “And after seeing what alumni have done for current WOUB students, I plan to do the same. I will pay it forward with future WOUB students, share my experience with them and help them in any way I can.