By Mohammad Mujahed
The Youngstown Press Club was brought back to life Tuesday, when the club was chartered by professionals and students in the field of journalism and mass communication at the McDonough Museum of Art at Youngstown State University.
YSU President Jim Tressel was the keynote speaker at the chartering event and said a press club in the area was timely and important.
The club has been inactive since the 1980s. Through its charter, the press club will help advance the work being done to serve the Youngstown community.
Mary Beth Earnheardt, the press club’s executive director and associate professor of journalism, said the club gives people the opportunity to learn more about journalism and news reporting.
“We hope to provide activities, training, lectures and networking events for the local media community,” Earnheardt said. “Right now, there isn’t a central hub for that.”
According to the mission statement of the organization, the club’s main goal is to unite media professionals in the Mahoning Valley through fellowship and education.
Earnheardt spoke briefly about the mission statement.
“We hope the press club will be a place where everyone in the valley who works in media can come together,” Earnheardt said. “I’m hopeful that we’ll establish a core group of members who are interested in exploring opportunities. The club will really become whatever the membership makes of it.”
Michele Gatts, a part time adjunct communications instructor and treasurer of the press club, said she believes it was great to become one of the founding members.
Gatts also discussed the opportunities the club presents.
“The club is a great way to network with other professionals, gain continuing education and contribute to upholding high ethical standards in the Mahoning Valley’s professional communications,” Gatts said.
YSU student John Stran, who is the sole student on the board, spoke about the reasons why he joined and what he plans to achieve.
“I joined to a better journalist, and also I am the youngest one in the club, so I can learn from the experience from other professionals,” Stran said. “[I also plan to] represent myself and the students of YSU.”
Stran said his goal for the club is to become a network and to grow contacts by connecting with other media professionals in Youngstown.
Earnheardt also encourages YSU students who study journalism to join.
“YSU students who are studying media can become members for no charge,” Earnheardt said. “I believe they’d be attracted to the club for the same reason the professional members want to join. That is, because there are a lot of opportunities included with membership.”
Stran also encourages his fellow students to join because of the opportunities and the waived membership fee.
“This a great way to meet future employers,” Stran said.
Gatts said students should join because it will further their education in journalism.
“I for one, am inviting my students to participate. It’s a great opportunity for everyone in the communications field, especially students, and as we’ll have educational opportunities beyond what may be part of their current academics,” she said.
The Board of Governors for the club consists of are a group of eight individuals from different companies and institutions.
It includes: JoAnn Kolarik (WFMJ), Mollie Hartup (YSU), Michele Ristich Gatts (Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown), George Nelson (Business Journal), Pete Milliken (Vindy, retired), John Stran (YSU student and Jambar reporter), Chelsea Simeon (WKBN) and Mary Beth Earnheardt (YSU).
According to the press club, introductory dues rate are $35 (the normal dues rate is $50 a year). The reduced rate will be available until Dec. 31.