Telecasters, the second largest student run organization at Michigan State University, is made up of students who conceptualize, write, film and produce seven different television shows from scratch. The shows range from comedy to drama, satirical journalism to journalism, and live-production to film style production.
Founded in 1954, the main goal of the organization is to provide an environment that allows for students to help other students grow professionally and socially. Telecasters alumni are now all over the world and can be found in many successful media-related jobs.
Every Spring Semester for the past seven years, the alumni relations director and professor Bob Albers invite Telecasters alumni to speak at a panel. Panelists are chosen based on their proximity, their success, and the nature of their positions.
The 2016 panel featured WXYZ-TV Reporter Shelly Childer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Social Media Specialist Jack Crawley, WKAR-TV Station Manager Susi Elkins and CSG International Technical Supporter Andrew Sobotka. Each panelist had an executive role in Telecasters during their MSU college careers, either hosting and producing their shows, or serving the executive board.
Two out of the four panelists are in social media—a growing source of jobs in media production—and two are in broadcasting.
“This made the panel responsive to the new job market trends and to those interested in television,” Albers said.
Albers added that this year's panel emphasized “soft skills”—a topic that hadn’t been present in years past. Panelists also discussed the growth and job potential of social media at length.
Current Telecasters, including journalism senior and MSU&U Co-producer Matt Smith, remarked that events like these are very important to him as well as other students. Having attended every alumni panel since he joined the organization his freshmen year, Smith says networking with alumni is more key than ever as he searches for a job post graduation.
It was also interesting for attendees to see generations of people who were part of shows that they are currently on, and to see the people who helped made Telecasters what it is today.
“It’s nice to network with people who have a connection with me through Telecasters,” he said.
The panel also focused on how students can get a job right out of college. One of this year's panelists, Jack Crawley, said he still keeps in touch with other fellow telecasters, and that the far-reaching Telecasters’ network can help students out after graduation.