April 7, 2009

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Our Experience with SMDC Health Systems

By:Kim Hennen

During our visit to the department of marketing and public relations at St. Mary's Duluth Clinic (SMDC) Health Systems we experienced firsthand what is possible with a career in journalism. We were able to sit in on an informal conference where team members brainstormed and discussed new ideas for their next project. We also got to personally interview three women from SMDC newsroom: Connie Wirta, the Web marketing specialist, Kim Kaiser, the media relations specialist, and Beth Johnson, the public relations manager. They shared their insight about the skills necessary to do their job, how they got where they are, what a typical day might look like for them, advice they had for those aspiring to work in this type of career, and how they think new media has changed traditional journalism. We also toured the SMDC newsroom and got a peek of those hard at work. Below is a quick highlight of just a few of the things we took out of this experience.

- Be open to new things, demonstrate a willingness to learn them, and then do just that- learn them! (Like we did with Twitter!) This is key as the field of journalism continues to change.
-Watch the news, read the paper, surf the web, listen to the radio, go out and talk to people- do anything that exposes you to what's going on in the world.
-The majority of those working in this field at SMDC have degrees in journalism.
-You can learn a lot about someone by looking at their hands and their shoes.