Eric Burns visits Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Arkansas State University's Radio Television Department is currently holding professional-in-residence speaker series.

This program was first created last year.

Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts of the Radio Television Department says so far their guest speakers have been very beneficial to ASU students.

"These visits have been an extreme success. Students are starting to recognize that what the teachers tell them is true in the field."

Each semester, department heads locate and ask three professionals to come and speak.

Dr. Jackson Pitts says this provides their students with a rare opportunity.

"The classes we ask our speakers to come to is small, no more than fifty to a group. The students get one on one contact with the professionals. The listen to their experiences in the field and get to ask them any questions they have."

Wednesday's speaker was a supervising producer for the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, Eric Burns.

Burns graduated from Arkansas State University in 1986.

After joining CNN in 1999, Burns has served as an integral part of several award-winning stories.

In 2002, Burns was the executive producer for "Showdown: Iraq" with veteran newsman Wolf Blitzer and developed and launched the show.

Among his many accomplishments are being a part of news events and coverage that won a DuPont award, a Peabody award, an Associated Press best newscast award, and he has also been nominated for a number of Emmy awards.

Burns says speaking to students about the field they plan to enter is important.

"I remember being a student and I remember having the same kinds of questions that they have and I think it's very important for me to share with them there, as I said to them, there's going to be opportunities out there and now is the time to prepare for those opportunities in the future."

Dr. Jackson Pitts says students were receptive to what Burns had to say.

"Eric's talk was really good. Everything he said was current. The students really enjoyed listening to him and asking questions. It helps students see hard work pays off."

Burns says the main thing he hoped to get across to students is establishing contacts with professionals in the field.

"I'm encouraging students to not only take advantage of the skills and instructions they're getting at ASU, but also to get outside the four walls of the campus and make contact with people in the industry because it's very important to have those contacts and to also learn as much as they can about the business."

Dr. Jackson Pitts says it's what students put into their education that will set their future in motion.

"The education that is received at ASU gives them the foundation to succeed. It's a matter of communicating your message to a large or small audience."

The Professionals in Residence series isn't over yet.

The Director of Operations for Wal-Mart Televisions, Duaine McElroy, will be speaking to ASU students April 11th and 12th.

For more information about ASU's Radio-Television Department, log onto their website.

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