Editor’s note: This is first in a series of updates on how Union graduates are faring in the job market.
When Josh Brown graduated from Union in 2012 with a degree in journalism, it did not take long for him to land a job in his field of study.
But after working for a small newspaper for a year, he desired more for his vocation, and his career path is now heading in a fresh direction.
Recently, Brown started a job as a communication consultant at Alpha Tau Omega National Headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind.
Brown has always loved to write, and he debated between English and journalism as his major.
“I prayed a lot about what to major in … ultimately decided journalism for one reason: sports writing,” he said, adding that his dream job has always been to travel, cover games for a Major League Baseball team and write for MLB.com.
Brown had not had any experience with journalism before college. As a baseball player at Marion High School in Marion, Ark., Brown said his schedule did not allow time to be involved with the newspaper staff.
“I knew I likely would not play college ball, so I played in high school as much as I could,” he said.
As a prospective Union student, Brown fell in love with the Communication Arts department on preview day.
The faculty and professors he met were encouraging, he said, and he was even further interested when he learned that the Cardinal & Cream would have an opening for a sports editor.
Starting as an assistant sports editor his freshman year, Brown spent the following three years as co-sports editor for the newspaper.
Once he graduated, Brown said he was soon “jolted into a real world lifestyle.”
He was recommended to work for The Evening Times, a newspaper based in Crittenden County, Ark., Brown’s hometown. The job offer came quickly, so he did not hesitate to accept it.
“I would have been completely lost had I not had that prior experience at Union,” he said.
The daily newspaper position was “quite a learning curve from the Cardinal & Cream, where we just had two publication nights a month,” Brown said. “But, as with anything, the more I worked at it and practiced it, the better and quicker I got at being able to produce my pages.”
At The Evening Times, Brown worked as sports editor for a year with no staff, which meant he covered athletic news for three high schools in the area with no assistance.
He had to attend as many sporting events throughout the week as possible, take stats at each game, photograph each game and then write the stories and lay out the page each night.
A typical workday started at about 4 p.m. and ended about 12:30 a.m.
Brown enjoyed watching the numerous games every week, and he didn’t mind the late nights; he calls himself a “night owl.”
Perhaps his greatest memory of the job was being able to watch his younger brother, Cody, succeed in his high school soccer games.
“Cody set the single-space goals scored record; it was special being able to see that unfold,” Brown said.
“As I started to look around for something more, I thought of ATO,” he said.
Alpha Tau Omega is a leadership fraternity that stands for love and respect. Beta Tau is Union’s ATO chapter.
He said he knows a fellow Beta Tau brother who had worked with ATO.
He asked him if the fraternity was looking for anyone at ATO National Headquarters with journalism experience, which helped him to get his foot in the door to get an interview.
Last month, Brown found out that he got the job at the ATO headquarters, and he started working there a week later.
Brown said that while an intern in Washington, D.C. for a semester, he grew to love living in a larger city, so he was excited to make the move to Indianapolis.
Brown’s new title is “communication consultant,” which covers a broad area of duties, such as managing social media accounts, writing news releases and newsletters and writing for ATO’s magazine, The Palm.
Many skills Brown acquired while working with the Cardinal & Cream, such as interviewing, writing, and using InDesign software, will benefit him in his new job.
Brown’s ATO Beta Tau little brother Stephen Hauss, senior business major, is excited for what this job is going to do for Brown’s career.
“I think this job really fits Josh,” Hauss said. “He’s going to be passionate about making a difference in a fraternity that made a difference in him in college. … I think that down the road he’s going to look back on this and it’ll be really helpful for him.”
From personal experience, Brown said he believes networking is just as important as building a resume and receiving a degree.
“If there is one piece of advice I can give to any undergraduate, it is to network,” Brown said. “Talk to people, build relationships, get your name known. In today’s competitive job market, getting that degree first is key. But if you network along the way, it will open up doors to so many more jobs.”