CNN recruiter gives speech on internship preparation

Minka Atkinson

After the original conference room overflowed with students eager to attend a lecture by CNN’s Ramon Escobar, vice president of talent recruitment and development at CNN, organizers were forced to move the event to a larger location. 

Escobar’s lecture, held at the Belo Center for New Media on Wednesday, was aimed at helping students be strong candidates for journalism jobs and internships. The speech included tips on ethics, leadership and cultural literacy along with suggestions to students on how to achieve their goals.

“The most important thing is making sure you guys as students are prepared,” Escobar said. “It’s such an important aspect of having journalists who are prepared and qualified and know the ethical part. We have to separate ourselves from the people that don’t do news but try to claim they do.”

The presentation was the first in a new series by the School of Journalism called “Prepping for the Pros,” which will regularly host speakers to give students real-world advice and help them get ready for a future in the professional world of journalism. 

“(Escobar), the chief recruiter for CNN, it seems like he’d be the ideal person to kick off a program we’re doing this semester,” said Kathleen McElroy, associate director of the School of Journalism.

Escobar has a total of 25 years of experience in local, cable and network TV and digital media, including working for Telemundo and MSNBC. During his presentation, he shared his experience on breaking into the industry.

“When I started, I was very aggressive,” Escobar said. “I was interested in TV reporting, so I sent out tapes to everyone. I made a lot of phone calls and knocked on a lot of doors and kept trying and trying. It was a lot of hard work. You just have to try to push yourself and get out there.”

Although many students attended the event for extra credit, some students, such as radio-television-film freshman Laura Ullman, attended because they were interested in Escobar and the information he had to share.

“I want to pursue a career in documentary film with National Geographic, and there’s definitely a route through journalism where I see how to get that job,” Ullman said. “I’m looking for help for my future.”