Dig In and Realize the Opportunities: Video Transcript

Jenny Rooney (English/Creative Writing and English/Literature majors, Miami, 1992) [Editor, CMO Network at Forbes]: As CMO Network Editor at Forbes, I'm responsible for several things actually; primarily, I oversee a content channel on Forbes.com, and it's made up of contributed content, content that I write myself and report on, and also we have a lot of video content. I do a lot of video interviews as editor at Forbes' CMO Network, and it's a job I got after many years of a career in journalism covering advertising and marketing, and that became my beat, if you will - my specialty - and so now I am at Forbes still covering marketing and advertising albeit from the perspective from CMOs and senior marketing management; so I am covering a lot of issues that are of importance to them.

The most rewarding aspect of my job are the people that I get to interview. There are so many unique personalities out there, especially in the industry of marketing and advertising and so the fact that I can sit down with them and actually interview them face to face, and also in many situations, go on-site and see where they work and see the kind of work that they do.

The other thing that I find very rewarding about working at Forbes is the fact that it's such an innovative company right now. The field of journalism is changing so dramatically and Forbes is really at the forefront of that change and that innovation.

Advice that I'd give to Miami students who are interested in the change that is taking place in journalism would be to pay attention to the reality that is social media and the way that is changing the nature of who owns content these days. No longer is journalism a situation where people are just sharing, you know, pushing the information out, now it's really creating a conversation around a topic and journalism is partly the reporters and the editors reporting and doing everything they've historically done so well, obviously fact-checking, obviously those basics are still incredibly important. And reporting a great story is as great and as important as it's ever been.

I think there needs to be an acknowledgement on the part of journalism students these days that journalism is not just a one-way conversation anymore. It's really an all-inclusive conversation that really incorporates the voice and the perspective of the audience that they are reporting to.

I've been lucky to interview some really amazing people through the course of my journalism career. One that really stands out is Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man. I got a chance to interview him in person when I was really a junior reporter at Advertising Age in New York City and that has stayed with me. He gave me like a cellophane piece of paper with an actual original drawing of Spider-Man on it, and that was really exciting. I also interviewed Vint Cerf, who is what many consider to be the founder of the Internet. I've also had a chance to interview John Varvatos the designer. So there's just been a lot of really interesting personalities; nowadays I am interviewing CMOs and they, in their own right, are incredibly interesting because I think they are the forefront of a lot of innovation that's also happening. Nowadays it's incorporating the new reality of media that we're living; because certainly marketing needs to take advantage of the realities of mobile, of social media, and how creativity is changing as well. So it's a fascinating field that they're in, and I get to talk to them about that, and that's pretty fascinating for me.

The way I chose Miami was this: I was living in New Jersey at the time and it was 1988 and the book called the Public Ivies [Public Ivies: A Guide to America's Best Undergraduate Colleges and Universities] had come out, and it was a book that was getting a lot of attention at the time, and Miami was one of the schools featured in it. And I knew a few people who had graduated from my high school who had gone to Miami, but it was fairly unknown among my classmates, and certainly being in that part of the country. I looked at — in those days it was just hard copy marketing materials from the Career Resource Center. There was no Internet, there was nothing online for me to go look at, and I looked through those brochures and I had heard back from this one woman who had gone and had a great experience there, and I accepted site unseen. I never visited the campus until the day I was arriving to move into Dorsey Hall. I just took a chance; it all sounded really good on paper, and the reality was a thousand times better.

Miami prepared me for what I am doing now in the sense that it really caused me to have an important focus on the value of writing and of literature. The fact that I had an education here that took my coursework so seriously; the professors were always so available to me to consult with, I felt as though they were really a part of my education and we were working together to figure out the best approach for me as a student, as someone who was a creative writing major who was finding my legs, finding my voice as a writer. And those things I carry with me today in my writing as a journalist and editor. I still find myself referring back to the days when I would go and consult with a professor, and I would really try to hone my style and also learn and dig deep into the writing styles of so many other authors and I just, that experience I've carried through all the way through my career and what I am doing today.

The advice that I would give to an incoming Miami student is pretty obvious — an experience is what you make of it; it could be as wonderful as what you put into it. So I feel that my passion for Miami came through not only in the friendships that I made, and still, some of my best friends are people that I met at Miami, and to this day I talk to them daily. But also just dig in and realize the opportunities that exist academically. There are so many rich resources here, so many people willing to help you, so many great facilities which is just amazing, and being back here now and just seeing how those facilities have continued to expand and grow is really amazing, and this is a fleeting four years, and just focusing on every day, trying to dig in, get out, put in, it's really…you'll come away with such a fascinating, rewarding experience, and relationships, and education that will really carry you through your whole career.

Ten years from now if you were to update my profile, I would hope to say that I will actually be back in an academic environment. I love universities, I love the college environment, and I would like to eventually go back and either teach at a university, or otherwise be involved, either on the communications side or the outreach side. It's really important for me to feel that I'm ultimately taking my career as a journalist and then giving it back to an academic environment, because that to me is really rewarding and is something that I always from day one have wanted to do. So yeah, ten years from now you may find me at a university.

The thing I miss most about Miami is the feeling I had here that anything was possible…it was really just this feeling that I had all these wonderful resources available to me that I could take advantage of, and so academically it was really rewarding and very freeing in that regard; and at the same time I felt so excited and happy knowing that I was building these wonderful friendships, and it was really just a blissful time; it was four years I won't ever forget.

[February 2013]