CJA networking event resonates with college journalists

CJA at Billy Goat Tavern

Guests huddle inside of the Billy Goat Tavern for an intimate panel discussion. “We purposely keep these events small and informal so everyone can interact on a more personal level,” says associate board chairman Stephanie Choporis. Photo credit: Maudlyne Ihejirika

The Chicago Journalists Association hosted its second annual spring networking event for college students and recent graduates Thursday, May 19, at the Billy Goat Tavern.

CJA’s associate board once again organized the event and recruited professional journalists representing a variety of mediums: Charlie Meyerson (Rivet Radio), Kurt Gessler (Chicago Tribune), Adrienne Samuels-Gibbs (Newcity), Deidra White (CBS) and Becky Yerak (Chicago Tribune).

“I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve received,” said associate board chairman Stephanie Choporis. “The students and recent grads really love the intimacy of these events and the access they have to the professionals.”

Taryn Galbreath

CJA associate board chairman Stephanie Choporis greets recent Medill graduate Taryn Galbreath. Photo credit: Yudi Zhang

Aspiring journalists from schools across the Chicago area, including Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago and North Central College, listened intently and eagerly asked questions as the veterans shared advice during a panel discussion.

Yerak told them to invest in themselves, while others shared advice on asking editors for feedback, finding a passion and early mistakes in their careers.

Chicago Tribune business reporter Becky Yerak

Chicago Tribune business reporter Becky Yerak tells the crowd that she uses some of her yearly vacation time to attend journalism conferences. Photo credit: Yudi Zhang

Choporis said she would really like to offer more opportunities for student journalists and hopes to hold a similar event soon. Earlier this year, her associate board gave tips to high school students on what it takes to become a good aspiring journalist.

The associate board currently consists of 15 journalism students and recent graduates from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, DePaul University, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Augustana College and Southern Illinois University. Membership is free.

Any students or recent graduates interested in joining should contact Choporis at stephanie@chicagojournalists.net for more information.