By Cole Edgell
When thinking about how I would approach the job shadow assignment, I struggled with deciding what kind of profession I would investigate. I am open to any job opportunities in communications and I am even strongly leaning towards switching my major to Integrated Strategic Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations. I subsequently decided to pursue a job shadow in a Public Relations profession because of this so that I could gain some insight on the field.
I got in contact with Michael Knuth who works for the Integrated Marketing and Communications on campus at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Knuth is the Content Manager at IMC which means that he helps manage the internal and external communications for the university between faculty, students and other entities. “My title here is the content manager so I oversee a lot of content, that can be external communications with media, it can be internal communications with the faculty, staff and students, Chancellor communications. I have my hands in lots of different things.” He also helps oversee the university’s social medias and branding.
Knuth is originally from Rhinelander, Wisconsin and graduated from UWEC’s Communication and Journalism Department in 1986 with a Journalism degree. He went on to work at small newspaper in Missouri and subsequently moved on to various sports and news reporting jobs around the state of Wisconsin, eventually landing a sports editor position in Green Bay, WI.
I talked extensively with Knuth about his opinion about the state of journalism and media in the United States, social media, what good media writing means, his experiences in writing news and how to be successful in the field of communications and journalism.
Knuth said that his experiences as a journalism student at UWEC effectively prepared him for success in his career. “I think what certainly prepared me was working at The Spectator. I started working at The Spectator as a writer and then became sports editor and I got very involved in that community on campus. I interacted a lot with some of the professors who were involved in advising the staff and helping learn the craft. That really made a significant difference and impact on when I did graduate. I knew I was ready.”
Overall, I had a great and insightful experience sitting down with Mr. Knuth for a few hours and discussing with him a wide variety of topics pertaining to journalism and how to be successful in a career in communications. He is an incredibly wise and well-spoken individual who has spent over 25 years in the communications field in various positions. The conversation that I had with him was incredibly valuable and I am very happy that I decided use Mr. Knuth as my interviewee for this job shadow assignment.
The audio from my interview with Mr. Knuth can be found here.