Every year, UNC seniors from the journalism program go to Las Vegas to attend to the National Association
of Broadcasters show. On this episode, our host talks to three of them about what they learned on this
convention. (Running time 19:54)
My name is Eli Shoemaker and I'm a senior.
I'm Will Coleman I am also a senior.
Leo Mallard, also senior.
On the weekend of April 15. Through the 18th. I was in Vegas, which was super duper
fun. This trip was to the journalism department. So me and seven other students got
to go to the NAB Show. It is only for senior journalism students, and was a once in
a lifetime opportunity I'm glad I didn't miss out on. Here I had three other students
who went on the trip with me to talk about their experience.
So what does NAB stand for?
NAB is the National Association of Broadcasters, The U.S. Association of Broadcasters
all coming together for a big convention where they can like, show new technology
show interesting things. It's also international with BEA, which is the Broadcasting
Educators Association. And those are more panels. Like, if you're trying to teach
broadcasts, or like other things that are more kind of like the academic side.
I would say NAB was definitely a great place for sales and networking. But really,
as college students, we were almost the minority, which is very, very fascinating
to us when we all came there. But what was really great, we got to meet actual industry
professionals, who either were just five years older than us all the way up to probably
50 year just retired in the whole democratic area and what they want to do, and it
was really wonderful.
Yeah, and I know you, and you both saw more panels in the BEA side. So, can you tell
me a little bit about the panels that you saw?
One of the panels I saw was this one on the stories you don't want to tell about how
news media covers mass shootings, and then one was about engineering. And so as you
can see, there's like a very wide field of what the different panels could be. And
so you learn when you're looking at these panels out there, not just for like education,
or like you're not there to learn or to teach people how to teach people. But you
get a lot of information there that like you wouldn't necessarily think about. And
for like the engineering one I learned that like a lot of the careers speak for media,
broadcast engineering is so niche that you can't even have like a major for it in
One of the fascinating, I would say, topics that I wasn't really expecting to attend,
we were all there on Friday, and on Saturday, and everyone was attending a session
that I really didn't have any interest in. And that's just how to basically break
it in Hollywood. And as an individual, that's just not my niche.
And so I actually saw one about weather reporting live, especially crisis communications,
which I did a little bit at my internship with the city of Greeley and how to understand
not necessarily weather, but I've done crisis communications when it comes to gas
pipe leaks and water main breaks, things like that. And what was really great for
me to learn was how typical broadcast explodes by about 13% viewers each time that
there is like a national or even regional disaster, because for a lot of people, they
might just have a few stations on their TV programmed in there. And they're not paying
for it simply because it's on their TV or their home provider. And that's an easily
accessible way to turn on the TV to have live feed. Because Twitter, TikTok, Facebook,
Instagram, all those places are wonderful, but they might not have the information
you're looking for as immediate as a local journalist would.
And your emphasis is something different from ours?
Yeah so, my emphasis is public relations and with social media.
What were the requirements for you guys to go on this trip? You haven't talked?
Yeah. So I think the the only real requirements were that you had to be a senior in
the journalism program. And you have to be over 21 Because it is it is in Las Vegas.
And yeah, I think a big part of what made NAB so I don't know, there's there's just
an air about it. I think because as a student, you go there and get the sense that
everybody there is actually out in the world doing this thing that you've been studying
for so long.
And on one hand, it's a little bit intimidating, just because the idea of networking
can be really scary. But on another hand, you realize that you've been learning to
do this very specialized thing and you have something in common with these hundreds
of thousands of people there and you would you realize that they're all they're doing
the same thing that you have been doing for four years now and the same thing you're
about to go into the field for.
I also think something that was really great about it is that journalism here is such
a small department so to like to see it in a big form and see it like actually be
recognized, with the broadcasting side of it and everything. I think that was probably
a good part of it just to see like, hey, this is beneficial to us and we can network
and we can meet people and we can learn about these things that typically we wouldn't
learn in a smaller department, even if it's just for like one panel.
And to build off that is that we are in a smaller department. But they did cover admission
to NAB for us. And they also covered the hotel for us. And so like, we really had
to pay for the flight to it. And that was the biggest, biggest payment for me like
going there, because, you know, even flights to Vegas aren't cheap. But the idea that
like you have these places, or you have these structures to allow students to go in
there, even if it's like, you don't have to pay for everything you have to pay for
these limited things. I think that's really helps us all, contribute and get there
in the first place.
What was your guys favorite panel that you saw?
A lot of the panels are really interesting. They're very interesting in different
ways. They every panel might have been the podcasting panel, which you were also at
we it was funny because I asked a question, they ignored me.
No, it was a really good panel you because it's has like, a lot of these panels all
had like a lot of specific data. And a lot of like specific advice that was like not
just not just like general but like very cognizant to things that are happening now.
The podcast panel, at least for me really showed that and show like how different
industries and different like genres of podcasting can be interesting in which ones
are succeeding and which ones are failing. And like even implying certain reasons
why and like how you can make your podcast succeed in certain ways.
Mine was the HBO The Last of Us one simply because that I play the game, I've played
both the first and the second game through. I'm currently like literally one mission
away from being platinum, aka beating the entire game. And getting all the trophies
from Sony and being able to meet the co-director and the co-writer of that and the
show. And as well to the videographer, the editors in the sound was just amazing.
It was just really awesome to hear industry secrets for a massively million-dollar
successful TV show.
Yeah, not to be a copycat. But The Last of Us panel was also my favorite. Specifically,
because since I joined the journalism department video editing has kind of been my
biggest area of interest. So specially to hear like actual industry video editors
talk about the very specific or very artistic decisions that they make with each cut.
It was everything to me like it kind of put into words, some things that I've kind
of discovered and wanted to learn more about with my own video editing. So, it was
it was both vindicating and enlightening to hear people that are in the industry working
their process out in similar but much more developed ways that that I would go about
that sort of thing.
Did you have a favorite Isabella?
I did. Also, not to be a copycat, but I did really like the podcast one, I thought,
thank you fist bump, I thought it was really interesting to hear something that I'm
super interested in and something that I'm looking to do in the future. And to hear
people talking about that. I learned a lot of information from that one that I can
take and use later on. I also really liked the Last of Us. So those two are probably
my favorite. But I like the podcast one a little bit more just because it's more relatable
Yeah, maybe someday you'll start a podcast?
So, we each kind of copied each other. But the event was absolutely massive. And we
saw what we could including our professors Shawn's panel. So don't just think that
the event was about podcasts and The Last of Us because there were so many things
to do there and events to go and watch. It was literally a whole thing.
We talked about panels. But what was your guys’ favorite overall part of the trip?
I think for me, it sounds maybe a little bit too broad, but meeting everyone in the
department because so even though I'm a senior, I finished all of my journalism credits
about a year ago. So, I've been predominantly in the business sector because that's
where my minor is in. So, I've been learning things in the last year that I haven't
even really needed to be over in Candelaria much.
So, it wasn't just a networking opportunity for me for like industry professionals.
It was literally making friends for the people I'm going to see a graduation next
Saturday. And that was just really something that while I remember everyone in classes.
Classes are classes and sometimes people have lot always we all have lives outside
of classes. So, it was a great opportunity for me to meet a lot of people and make
I love being with you guys there, but I think the the biggest thing for me was just
being in that space with all those people that do it professionally and kind of made
it more real for me that after next Saturday like we're all going to be at least the
goal is to go out and for that to be us and it felt a little bit more attainable.
It felt a little bit more like it was actually happening. And that's something I've
been like looking for.
My favorite part was getting matching swimsuits with Will here.
Yeah, we looked really good in those.
Yeah, we did.
Jokes aside, this is gonna sound a bit egotistical but when my favorite parts is being
able to say I did this to be like, past it and be like, you know, I went there, because
like, a lot of going into this new world is or new world like, you know, the next
stage of my life after graduation is going to be like applying for things and getting
there and I don't have like a lot of real world experience because that's what university
is for is like, have the preparation for the real world. And I feel like this was
a good first step in a real-world experience, at least for me. And I do have some,
of course, everybody does, in some way form or another. But like, I had been able
to say I went to this really big convention and like I know what I'm doing. I have
like some information that is useful to you as my potential employer, I think that's
a really good place to be at, especially when this trip wasn't like getting closer
to finals week. And I have like, assignments we all do. And I was like, you know,
I think setting aside the time for this was really worth it in that sense.
Why did you guys want to go on this trip initially?
One of the really big things that I wanted to go on the trip for was going in with
the knowledge that yes, there was a career fair, there's tons of panels, there's a
lot of tech, there's, I think overall, when we were on the tram, we heard that there
was like, at least 100,000 people who attended the first day, which was, I think Friday,
and none of the UNC students got here until Saturday. And it ended Thursday, while
we got back in on Tuesday afternoon, primarily. So we still missed three days of NAB
and BEA. And I couldn't imagine like, overall, there was probably at least 500 to
600,000 people that signed up or attended.
But really one of the big things that I wanted to see was a totally different market
than I was aware of that I'm probably going to be interacting with maybe not getting
employment in, for example, like sound production. But I hopefully will be getting
a job in social media creation, copywriting, video editing, and at least with social
media, I've done video editing. So, it's not that I was completely just willy nilly,
oh, let's go out in Vegas, it was definitely a way for me to market skills and other
areas that just plain social media managers or communication specialists might not
Very similar to like what Eli said is that instead of being like for a business that
I'm not in for business that I am in to be like, because this is a controlled environment
University is in very many ways. So, I want to see like, what is a non-controlled
environment? What is like the real-world situation I would go to. So, when I went
to when I was thinking about going whether or not I would go to NAB or BEA I was thinking,
well, this is like a first step to it not being theoretical, and being able to be
like, Yep, this is what I'm doing. This is like evidence of like actual people doing
it. So, I thought that'd be a good experience to have.
Yeah, I mean, in any field, but especially in journalism, if you see an opportunity
to do something or be somewhere that you have never been before. Sometimes you just
got to do it. That was kind of what it was. for me. It was just like; I had never
been offered an opportunity like this had I been able to go and I just I had to be
there. And I was I think I was right for that that the HBO panel was actually also
a big draw for me just again, because it was people who actually do the thing that
I want to do. And yeah, could never have regretted gone.
I think as well too, for many of us. And I can't speak for all of us. But I think
as college students, that idea of spending a lot of money, especially with that idea
of Vegas, can loom over a lot of people's heads. But I would say if you're a college
student listening to this, and you have a trip planned with your degree with your
department, and while that might be really intimidating or daunting, I would always
suggest a student no matter what grade they're in to do it. Because you have to understand
that if you don't and regret it, you can't go back and do it.
Piggybacking a little bit off of that. What are some advice you'd give somebody wanting
to go or take advantage of this opportunity next year?
Go! Like, I think there there are two pieces of advice that I would give somebody.
The first is the world is a lot smaller than you think. And that is something that
was maybe my biggest takeaway from NAB, you go somewhere, and you just realize you're
in the same room as the same people that you've been watching their content for forever.
And you never know who you could run into that might remember you later. And even
more than that, like I learned so much about just the people that we went with and
where they're going in life and now you've made connections with people down the line
who might be doing some really cool stuff that there are a lot of really talented
people in this program that I feel like you know, one day down the line we might we
might end up working together there and that is also true of some people that we met
So yeah, just go like it's, it's such a, it's weirdly such an easy space to navigate
through, even though it's so big and can be so daunting, you feel like everybody wants
you there, which is not something that I was expecting out of there.
The other piece of advice I would give is that Las Vegas is a really weird place.
And as long as you're safe about it, it's better to lean into it. Because it's, it's
a really, it's kind of surreal, but it can be a good time, if you let it be.
I would advise because one of my biggest regrets was that I don't think I networked
as well as I could. So, bring either business cards or resumes. Business cards are
easier to like, give out more, but like I went to the career fair about say that we
were there. So, I regret not having like a resume that you just pull out and be like,
oh, yeah, no, I'm professional. Because like, if you are here for like a very professional
or to be in a professional field, it's a good idea to have like, this image of professionality
by bringing in like business cards or some like resume, so that people know who you
are, and have something to remember you by. And like even business cards, you could
put like a link to your resume on there. So, you know, good thing to have either or.
I would say, if we're just thinking topical advice that's really easy to adhere to.
One of the big things I I'm a very type A individual that I had to realize you need
to save quite a bit of money on food, like food was the biggest expense. Sure, there's
a lot of other activities you could be doing in Vegas, but you can't starve. And food
was very expensive, but it was all quality. We had amazing times together as a group,
we went out for our Ben and Jerry's one night, that was really fun. We did guy Fieri’s
restaurant as a whole entire group. It was, it was such a great time.
And I would say if we're just thinking, in general, just doing more of a larger convention
trip like that always take time for yourself to for some people, it's going to be
easy to get overwhelmed. I think we all felt a little bit groggy, even at the start
of the last day, at least I did. And so, you have to understand to give yourself that
space that while there's networking events every night with like, free stuff and free
entrance to things. Those can be amazing. But you can't limit your ability. If you
know you need at least six or seven hours of sleep a night. Do it, truly, because
you're going to regret it the next day and it's going to catch up to you.
I felt like my best part was when I got a little overwhelmed while everyone was on
the floor. It was just me being able to explore different panels, different people
different places on my own, and just be able to experience it because sometimes you
need to be registering it on your own too.
And then my last question is, if you could do a podcast what would you do it on? Who
wants to start?
I would do a fiction podcast and I had this idea that I wanted to make about like
our library, there's something like weird or mythical going on, I haven't really thought
through through but you know, something fictional and fun.
If we're thinking topically, I really want to do a podcast on media literacy. And
in general, media can be one or two, a lot of people can get very, very upset with
a lot of it. And then yet, it's also incredibly useful as an escapism tool. And we're
in this area right now of that line is blurred occasionally that there's so much happening
in the world. So, I want to do something on media literacy, how to understand it and
how to decompress from it. Because being a journalism major, I absolutely love being
on top of trends being on top of news and that's half the reason I'm social media.
But if I had my choice to, I would really not be as immersed in news and pop culture
as I am.
Do a history podcasts. I'm a big old history nerd. And specifically, my favorite historical
stories are the ones where I don't know. Humans are the same as we've always been.
Just we just have fancier ways to be the way that we have always been so every time
you hear a story about some crazy thing Florida man did. There's some dude in like
1300s France that basically did the same thing. And I want to talk about that.
Thank you for listening to us talk about our time in Vegas and at the NAB Show. If
you are a senior in the journalism program this upcoming year, you should go if you
can. It was worth it. I learned so much and made some great connections not only at
NAB, but with the folks I went with. I'm your host Isabella Marcus-Porter giving you
a taste of UNC.