Journalists Visit Hilbert

Hilbert College students heard from a panel of three journalists this week, part of the school’s annual communications career week.

Kyle Mackie of WBFO, Caitlin Dewey of The Buffalo News and Casey Bortnick of Spectrum News covered a wide range of topics during the talk, offering insights into the challenges of rewards of pursuing a career in journalism.

: Bortnick, who discovered his passion for journalism at SUNY Brockport after being recruited to play football for the school, said he believes there will always be an opportunity for journalists, even as the business model has made for a challenging professional environment.

Is there a direct quote from him we can use here?

Mackie, who has worked internationally for major news outlets like the New York Times and WNYC, described the many challenges she has faced in her career despite having a master’s degree in journalism and clips in highly regarded publications.

“If you want to make it into this industry you have to believe in yourself,” she said.

Dewey, whose employer faces new uncertainties after it was announced that The Buffalo News will be sold to a newspaper conglomerate, acknowledged the many challenges that students should consider when deciding to pursue journalism, but also talked about how much she loves the work.

“It’s the Purest form of mental desire with working with words and massaging words and coming up with the best way to frame or to tell a story is ultimately the best way,” she said.

Then something fun to close: The panelists all offered some of their most interesting or exciting experiences to close, describing how rewarding the profession can be. Mackie recounted a lunch with a Palestinian family outside of Nazareth. Dewey described a trip to Wisconsin to help a dairy farmer with his daily work. And Bortnick talked about his experiences chasing Ralph “Bucky” Phillips, the escaped convict who spent the summer of 2006 on the run in Chautauqua County.

Bortnick got a little too close to the action once, being told by officers in pursuit of Phillips to duck behind the engine block of his car as the sound of gunfire rang out, he said.

“That is the closest I will ever get to a war zone,” Bortnick said.

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