Two Valenti journalism majors were sponsored by the Dow Jones News Fund to attend an industry conference this year. Through the Emerging Journalists Program, Drew Jones and Laraib Hashmi were among only 16 college students in the country to receive free sponsorships.
Both attended the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference in Houston June 13-16. They posted about their experiences at the conferences on social media while building their skills and professional networks.
"I attended NICAR through ProPublica in the spring, so I knew what to expect but I was still excited because I knew there's always so much to learn at these types of conferences," Jones said. "The panels were informative, the hands-on sessions taught me real skills and I sought out a few journalists whose work I admire to gain some useful career tips."
Graduating this fall, Jones has worked at The Daily Cougar and interned for the Houston Chronicle and Houstonia Magazine. He also attended the New York Times Student Journalism Institute and ProPublica Emerging Reporters Program this spring. He is interested in learning more about the investigative reporting process and skills he can apply to his own reporting.
During her time at Valenti, Hashmi was a staff writer for Cooglife, a student trainee at Newsy and an intern at the Houston Chronicle. She graduated in May 2019. Focusing now on developing better reporting and editing skills, Hashmi attests attending the conference further fueled her enthusiasm for the profession.“I would recommend anyone who loves news and who’s an aspiring journalist to go at least once in their career,” Hashmi said. “Being exposed to all of the amazing panels about investigative journalism just made me sure that being a journalist is what I was meant to do.”