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Communications


The communications industry includes fields such as advertising, Public Relations, Publishing, Media and Broadcasting. Hamiltonians in this industry work at places such as ESPN, Amazon, Harper Collins, The New York Times and more.

Scroll through the blog posts and stories below to learn more about Hamilton student and alumni experiences in this industry, and then use our career resources such as Facts on File and O*Net to learn more. Finally, meet with your career advisor and explore the Career Center curriculum to learn how to network with alumni to discuss your interests and learn more about their work.

April Highlights

Five Fun Communications Activities for Home

It can be stressful and even painful to interact with news outlets and social media today given their hyper-focus on the current pandemic. However, there are still ways to connect with your communications passions that are fun, relaxing, and creative. For inspiration, we have written a list of enjoyable communications activities that you can do at home. 

Write: Writing can be a great stress-reliever, an outlet, or a common ground to have with friends. Since there are many forms of writing, there is bound to be a way that is perfect for you! For example, now can be a great time to pick up the diary that you started years ago. If you enjoy visual arts, you could write and design a picture book or comic. If you are interested in theater or film, you could develop various characters and plots through script-writing. There are an infinite number of news outlets, magazines, and platforms online, so there is bound to be a website that would welcome your contributions, which could include blogs, articles, essays, or stories. Poems and songs are a great way to experiment with literary techniques, sentence structure, and writing patterns. 

Read: A great way to begin a “to-read” list is to consider the paper or electronic books (e-books) that you may have at home (particularly ones that you have not read). If you are looking outside of your home for books, many libraries have digital catalogues that permit users to check out e-books. For example, the Hamilton Burke Library digital catalog has articles, digital media, e-books, and videos. Hamilton also has subscriptions to online newspapers and magazines. For example, you can access for free both the Student Assembly’s New York Times subscription here or The Washington Post here. Your local library may also have a digital catalog, and many libraries have online library card applications so that applicants can access these library catalogues while practicing social distancing. A way to make your reading more dynamic and social is by starting a book club with friends, family, or individuals with similar interests as you. Your book club could meet through video conferencing services such as BlueJeans, Houseparty, Skype, or Zoom. 

Listen to podcasts or radio shows: If you are a loyal listener to any radio shows and are able to continue listening, please consider doing so because your support could potentially help radio employees keep their jobs during this time. If your live radio shows are currently off-air, you may be interested in listening to podcasts or radio shows that tape their episodes. You can access radio shows and podcasts through broadcast and internet platforms such as Apple, National Public Radio (NPR), Spotify, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, TuneIn, and Stitcher Radio. 

Start your own blog, vlog, or podcast: If you are looking for an opportunity to combine your passions for art, business, and communications, then you may be interested in starting a blog, vlog, or podcast. You could post on blog publishing websites such as Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress, vlog publishing websites such as YouTube and Vimeo, or podcast publishing websites such as SoundCloud and Spotify. If you would want more creative license when publishing your content, you may be interested in creating your own website using builders such as Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix.  

Stay up-to-date with the Career Center Connect Teams: All of the teams are creating content with the goal of continuing to provide students with informative and interesting opportunities to learn about industries and professional skills. During the rest of the spring 2020 semester, students can look forward to Connect Team events, blogs, and newsletters. For example, the Communications Connect Team hosted “Connect to Careers in Advertising” via Zoom this mid-April. The event featured Jonathan Greene ’95 and Edward (Ned) Winner ’00. Greene currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Techstars, and Winner currently serves as the Associate Director of Entertainment and Sports Brand Solutions at The Walt Disney Company. Both Greene and Winner offered great insight into their respective careers, the industry as a whole, and how the current pandemic is affecting advertising efforts.

Advertising Vocabulary List

AIDA: an abbreviation for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action; function as the basic guidelines and goals for ads.

Classified ads: the type of ads found in magazines and newspapers which are organized by the different subjects; usually smaller in size.

U.S.P: an abbreviation for Unique Selling Proposition, which is the aspect of the product that makes it distinguishable, desired, and different.

Press release: the official public announcement that an agency makes to the press in order to publicize a new service or product.

Product Range: includes all the different products that a company has and sells.

Generic advertising: does not intend to promote an entire brand but rather an industry or sector. Examples could include fresh milk (like the got milk? campaign), gemstones, and tourism.

Mail shot: ads sent through the mail to possible/likely consumers.

A/B Testing: a test to uncover the most effective ad strategy. Works by changing a core aspect of an ad, such as the specific diction or a specific design detail, and running both the controlled and variable ad to see which one performs better. Also called split testing.

CPC or PPC: the abbreviation of cost per click or pay per click. There is a set price on the ad that is only charged when someone clicks on the ad.

Retargeting: showings ads to a demographic that has a history of visiting or interacting with a company’s website and or products.

Sources: English Club, GlobalExam, Capital.com, Learn English Today, Perion

How the Communication Industry is Handling the Pandemic

Publishing:  

During this pandemic, one of the worries within the publishing industry is the temporary closure of bookstores like Barnes and Noble or other smaller independent bookstores that may not be able to last the whole shelter-at-home protocol, as well as some possible delays in shipping. However, books are still being printed and circulated, though there may be some troubles in obtaining these books. Despite these struggles, there is reluctance to push back release dates because that would result in greater competition, especially in the fall when some of the biggest titles are usually released. 

Furthermore, independent booksellers are being hit fairly hard. A survey showed that there was a 9.4% drop in sales compared to last year for the month of March. Of the sellers who took part in the survey, about 80% reported having to layoff or furlough employees due to the pandemic. Some other booksellers have had success for the past month after encouraging clients to stock up before policies like quarantine or lockdown became necessary. However, the uncertainty could cause even more layoffs as these sellers struggle to either deal with online orders as the sole means of gaining a profit. 

Not to mention, ViacomCBS is selling Simon & Schuster because it is betting its future on streaming and sports content rather than publishing. With $1.3 billion in sales, 1989 was one of the best years for Simon & Schuster. In comparison, the company’s sales were $814 million last year. The sale of Simon & Schuster has the industry worried about how this will change the publishing landscape and whether there will continue to be a Big Five, or whether one of the other four big publishing companies will acquire Simon & Schuster. 

Sources: Marketplace, Publishers Weekly, The New York Times

 

Advertising: 

The New York Times reported that the pandemic has struck the marketing industry, resulting in a decrease of advertisements. About 500,000 people in the United States currently work for this field. Considering the current downfall of the economy, it’s important to note the 2008 Recession where there was a loss of about $60.5 billion on ad expenditure, which took about 8 years to return to normal. Several highbrow companies like Kohls, Coca Cola, and Zillow have either cut back or stalled their advertising and even Amazon has decreased ad spending. Facebook reported a decline in their ad business. Recently, the tone of ads has changed to the point where many feel like PSAs, which is a reflection of the industry’s concern with spreading timely messages that have to do with topics like social distancing.

Source: The New York Times

 

Broadcasting/Journalism:

Because the majority of broadcasting companies must adhere to social distancing regulations, employees are now operating under makeshift studios and offices. Media outlets like radio and magazines are learning to function remotely. While there may now be more technical difficulties and some less than superior camera quality—not unlike our new Zoom classes—the public is seeing a different side to TV personalities and anchors, or at least a different backdrop. For example, CNN’s Jeff Zucker, who is the chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, reported that over 90% of global employees are working from home. 

The journalism industry is battling or surrendering to layoffs, furloughs, and closures. The situation is particularly difficult for more local newsrooms. Because small businesses are struggling, so are the ad revenues which keep local media outlets funded. The irony is that now more than ever, the public is interested in obtaining valid, accurate information, which is no longer so attainable with reporters being laid off. The national, prestigious publications, however, like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have stayed relatively healthy all situations considered. 

Sources: CNN and Washington Post

Featured Blog Post
 
 

Laura Frisch Marsh "91Love Your Work

Laura Frisch Marsh graduated from Hamilton College in 1991, majoring in comparative literature. Her first job was at a local newspaper where she did layout and editing work. In order to break into the publishing industry, she began to work at a store before finding a job with Little, Brown and Company in the medical textbooks division. She later transitioned into the children’s book division where she began as an editorial assistant before eventually becoming an editor. She currently works as a freelance author and editor. She has also worked for National Geographic on their Early Readers series.

Read LAURA'S Advice


 

Class of 2018 Outcomes Report
Outcomes by Industry

Class of 2018 Outcomes Report


Each year, the Career Center surveys recent graduates to track their progress during their first year after Hamilton. The resulting report includes data about career fields and employers, where graduates are pursuing advanced degrees and postgraduate fellowships, as well as outcome information for each concentration.

Contact Information


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