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20+ Ways the Hubbard School Prepares Students for the Job Market
Reporting Experience
Hubbard Reporting Experience

As only one of three ‘schools’ in the College of Liberal Arts, the faculty and staff in the Hubbard School have always considered the unit to be a professional program with a mission to train and prepare students for life after graduation. “Our goal is to meet students where they are and help them ramp up their education and training to be well prepared for professional success,” said Director Elisia Cohen. “We are consistently increasing the access and availability of in-house professional development workshops for students.”

For a century, students have had access to experiences and opportunities like student groups, professional organizations, Radio K and the Minnesota Daily, to build resumes, portfolios and clip reels. The offerings, such as the mentor program, capstone courses, internship scholarships and more, only grew stronger and in greater numbers. All of these opportunities send Hubbard students out into the job market prepared and ready to hire anywhere in the world.

Most recently, the School hired its own Associate Director of External Relations and Career Coach, Becky Borg, to provide industry-specific advising, host career-focused events, and build partnerships with alumni and local organizations. Borg’s calendar has been very busy since she started in 2021, and she knows how valuable any career readiness initiatives are to employers.  

“Employers frequently tell us that internships and similar experiences that offer opportunities to build skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, communication, and time management are valuable to obtaining and transitioning into entry-level roles,” said Borg, who meets with students individually to answer questions about anything from resume writing and interviewing to job search strategies and more. “Identifying career goals and applying to job and internship opportunities can be daunting for anyone, and college students are no exception,” she said.  

The School’s career-ready offerings in both strategic communication and journalism are only as strong as they are because of faculty and staff support. Faculty and staff strive to keep long-time, student-focused partnerships going, as well as create new and innovative learning experiences that not only build skills but also keep up with the changing times.  

“[These opportunities] are critically important for preparing students to work in journalism,” said instructor Gayle Golden. “Put mildly, they can make or break a first internship or job for a student. They often are the first step in building the portfolio students carry with them beyond their time in the Hubbard School. For some, it's a chance to get polished clips. For others, it's the initial glimpse at what it means to work in a professional newsroom. The experiences teach everyone that good journalism is done collaboratively in teams, not singularly in competition for a grade. And in all of the experiences, students learn by reporting out in the world, by walking out the door to find the best stories and the truest threads on what's really happening in communities.”  

Strategic communication offerings like capstone courses, student groups and the National Student Advertising Competition (see more below) do the same for advertising and public relations majors. Students get the chance to present in front of real-world clients, build campaigns for their portfolios and meet and network with high-ranking industry executives.  

Backpack students
Students visit Colle McVoy during an agency tour

Experiential Learning

From courses to internships to mini boot camps, Hubbard School students have a number of experiential learning opportunities they can register or apply for that earn credits or stipends. The professional faculty in the School work tirelessly to form these partnerships with outside organizations and continue to nurture those relationships each and every year. Keeping these courses available takes a lot of time and work, but the School sees the partnerships as a win-win.  

“It seems like a natural, symbiotic relationship to partner with local news organizations to hire student interns to produce copy for their publications,” journalism instructor Seth Richardson said. “Students get paid experience working with a professional editor and producing a published piece they can add to their portfolio. Local news organizations get access to our students’ high-quality work as well as foster connections with budding reporters for potential freelance opportunities. I think the end result is a more enriched environment for our journalism students and a stronger local news scene.”

Some of the experiences the School offers are relatively new, while others have been the backbone of the program for decades. The School's desire to fine-tune and grow keeps the offerings fresh for each new major.

Micro-Internship: Park Bugle
Last spring, Richardson and Borg set out to create a program that helps students who don’t have clips in their portfolio earn some real newsroom experience. Richardson partnered with the Park Bugle, a community paper in St. Paul. Students write for one month and are paid by the article, receiving feedback from the editor. Students apply to a pool of applicants and since July 2023, eight students have participated with more than 10 published articles. “Students are getting paid for real, quality journalism,” Richardson said. “Not only that, they're making connections in the local news scene. I'm thrilled with the response.” 

Field-based Practicum
This class, now more than 20-years strong, teaches advanced reporting skills through hands-on experience, professional oversight and thoughtful discussions with working journalists. Classes are held at news organizations, such as MPR and the Pioneer Press, where students work directly with editors to produce news, features or other content. That work experience is complemented in weekly sessions by readings, projects and discussions with journalists. Students leave the semester with published clips for their portfolios.

Brovald-Sim Community Journalism Course
Every spring, students focus on covering an underrepresented community in and around the University of Minnesota and highlight stories on the course’s own website: AccessU. The students conduct an intensive survey of the chosen community and feature stories and photos about the community and its relationship to the University. Communities covered in the past include the disability community, the Black community, the LGTBQ+ community, and those in recovery.

Report for Minnesota
Only two years old, but growing quickly due to generous donor support, Report for Minnesota offers a professional development opportunity for journalism students in outstate Minnesota. In Summer 2023, four students were placed at outstate newspapers, including The Brainerd Dispatch and the Duluth News Tribune. The students received a stipend and travel expenses so they could spend 20 hours per week for 10 weeks learning in a real newsroom. For 2024, the program will provide students with a larger housing stipend and 40 hours a week paid for 10 weeks at an outstate newspaper.

“Being able to learn and gain experience at a small-town newspaper was a great opportunity,” said student Hannah Ward, who worked in Brainerd last summer. “I know I wouldn’t have felt as confident in my abilities if I had jumped into an internship in the city. I got to cover everything from government to features to public safety.”

Hubbard Reporting Experience
Last August, 22 journalism students participated in a brand-new, immersive, full-time, hands-on opportunity to cover the news as it’s done in professional newsrooms, with professional coaching at every step of the process. At the end of the 10-day program, which took place in Murphy Hall with Hubbard School instructors, students received a stipend.

“The Hubbard Reporting Experience allows students on the newscast track to experience pitching a story in the morning, pursuing and producing that story during the day and presenting that story on air that evening, all in the course of an eight-hour shift,” said Senior Fellow Scott Libin, who leads broadcast instruction in the School. “That’s not something we can expect of them during the spring or fall semester, but it's exceptionally valuable in preparing them for the cadence of commercial television news.”

Magazine Production Course
This course focuses on magazine and web writing, editing, photography, graphic design, and production. Students study concepts of magazine and web communication with a special concern for how words, pictures, multimedia and design can be combined effectively. Over the semester, the class creates and publishes a professional quality single-theme magazine and website.

National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) course
Once a student group, NSAC is now a spring course (for credit) designed to bring together all aspects of strategic communication planning that students have gained from previous classes. The class aids students in the development of decision-making skills that are needed to develop an integrated strategic communications plan. All the essentials of developing a campaign are covered, including advertising strategy, brand positioning, developing creative/content, consumer research, planning and setting communication objectives, media strategies/plans, budgeting, public relations programs, digital, social, and promotion. The core project in this course is participation in the AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). The Hubbard School NSAC team has made it to the national competition for two years in a row.

newscast producing
Students prepare University Reporter during Newscast Producing

Newscast Producing
The emphasis of the Newscast Producing course is planning, writing, producing and presenting live TV newscasts. Students produce University Report newscasts during the spring semester. Much of the class is spent writing broadcast news copy and students generate their own stories as needed and anchor newscasts or segments. “Our broadcast skills courses are structured to acquaint students with the workflow of a professional newsroom,” said Libin. “That means processes like developing sources, pitching stories, managing files and meeting deadlines are familiar to students the day they start their first jobs as journalists.”  

Strategic Communication Campaigns course
This course provides an in-depth look at all aspects of strategic communication culminating in the development of a strategically sound communications campaign. Emphasis is on “real-life” examples of campaigns, their creation, and development. All essentials of developing a strategic campaign are covered, including advertising strategy, positioning, developing creative, consumer research, planning and setting objectives, media strategies, budgeting, public relations programs, and promotion. The class focuses on the integration of various techniques and elements available to most effectively create a strategic communications campaign. This course simulates the teamwork involved in working in a strategic communication agency.

Student Groups & Media Orgs

Outside of the classroom, Hubbard School students can latch on to a number of opportunities that help them build confidence, make connections and gain real-world experience. Whether they join a student group, work at a campus media organization, or both, the School and the University at large offer ventures ripe for the picking.

“Students who get involved in these activities are getting very practical learning that translates into interviewing opportunities,” said lecturer Mark Jenson, who has advised for both NSAC and Ad Club. “When they have these activities on their resumes, agency recruiters notice this because they understand the value of these programs. Time and time again I’ve heard students tell me that when they were interviewed, having the ability to talk about the skills and knowledge they gained from these activities played a huge role for them to successfully land an internship or a job.”

The strategic communication student agency continues to grow, employing more students in professional development and serving more clients. With clients like the Carlson School of Management, Serve Minnesota and First Nations Repatriation Institute, students apply their education to provide strategy, social media, content creation and media planning.

Student group agency tour
Student group agency tour

Ad Club
Ad Club is a student organization dedicated to educating students about the advertising, marketing, and communications industries. Ad Club accomplishes this by hosting guest speakers, attending agency tours, conducting resume reviews, holding networking events, and providing career opportunities.

Public Relations Student Society of America
PRSSA is a student-led organization that provides students who have an interest in public relations or communications with exciting and valuable professional development opportunities, including professional organization visits, networking events, professional development presentations and workshops, competitions and national conferences and mentorship opportunities.

Society of Professional Journalists Student Chapter
The University of Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is a group for students interested in journalism. The group meets monthly during the school year, often holding workshops, speaker presentations and field trips to local newsrooms.

Minnesota Daily
The Minnesota Daily is a student-led media organization that has served the University of Minnesota campus and surrounding community for more than 120 years. The Minnesota Daily is now published exclusively online, and readers are able to access special issues and get updates about articles by signing up for their email newsletter. Hubbard School students have worked for the Daily for 100 years.

The Wake
Started by two Hubbard School students in the early 2000s, The Wake Magazine is an arts, culture, politics, and social commentary magazine that provides a space for students to explore themselves and the world around them. Written, designed, and published by students, for students, The Wake aims to uplift the voices and artwork of anyone attending the University of Minnesota, regardless of experience or major.

Radio K
One of the state’s first broadcasting stations, Radio K operates as the University of Minnesota’s public radio station and provides enrolled students with a hands-on learning opportunity for multimedia at the University. The station's program advisor teaches podcasting in the School.

StudioU is a student-run video production organization that documents, informs, and entertains the greater campus community while providing students with hands-on professional experience.

Career Events & Opportunities

Once Borg was hired in 2021, the School had someone devoted to developing and hosting career events specific to the School, including events for both graduate programs. She aims to host four events for undergrads each semester, while also meeting individually with students and assisting faculty with finding guest speakers—up to 150 per semester! To pull these events off, Borg is thankful for the School’s vast and willing alumni network.

“Our alumni and industry partners are invaluable to our students in sharing their own career journeys, helping students hone their networking skills, and making connections within industries,” she said. Borg is part of the School’s Student Services team and by working together they connect students with programs and resources aimed at career readiness.

Career readiness initiatives at the School have been both tried and true and new and innovative. Some have stood the test of time and others change with the times. It’s a constant consideration in curriculum and syllabi creation, and a strategy with student-facing events. Faculty, staff, donors and alumni provide the inspiration and the juice to power all the School’s offerings.

“Our goal is to offer unparalleled career development opportunities right here in the Twin Cities,” said Cohen. “We want students in our School to be the envy of students elsewhere in the Big 10, as we know that they have access to internships, specialized programs, and strong career opportunities all year round in Minnesota. Whatever students are interested in, whether it is in advertising, public relations, nonprofit communications, journalism, multimedia producing and storytelling, or media sales, they can find a pathway from their classrooms to an exciting career in the Twin Cities communications industry here.”

Weekly Newsletter
The Murphy Weekly e-newsletter has been around for decades, offering updates on University policies and registration. But the biggest impact of the email is the links to internship opportunities, upcoming events, job postings, scholarship deadlines and much more. (Employers who want to get their job postings in front of students should reach out to [email protected].)

Career Events
With Borg on staff, the School can offer between eight and 10 industry-specific events for its undergraduate students each year. Recent events have covered wellness in the workplace, internship prep, alumni panel discussions, job search strategies, freelancing tips and more. Each semester the School’s signature Career Roundtable event takes place, where several industry professionals come to Murphy Hall and meet with small groups of students to discuss their careers and answer student questions.

Alumni Mentor Program
The Alumni Mentor Program, now in its 40th year, has been around so long that people who once were mentored as students are now mentoring others. In the last three years alone, more than 1,000 hours were spent mentoring 200 students across 100 different organizations, from print journalism and broadcast to advertising and corporate communications.

BIPOC Career Explorer
The Twin Cities PR BIPOC Career Explorer is an externship program designed for BIPOC students interested in the practice of public relations and communications in the Twin Cities area. Schools partner with local agencies like Tunheim, Weber Shandwick and Padilla, giving students a year-long experience, which includes workshops, networking and more. Since its launch three years ago, more than 25 Hubbard School students have participated in the program.  

The BrandLab connects BIPOC talent interested in the marketing and advertising industry to sustainable careers in creative workplaces. The nonprofit’s mission is to build a more inclusive marketing and advertising industry.