Sean Quinn ‘14, a student pursuing his M.A. in Public Relations, a graduate program within the College of Communication and the Arts, recently decided to take a major shift in his career. Quinn, who holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University, has worked as an established, award winning reporter for several New Jersey newspapers. After a few years in the field, he decided it was time to continue his education and expand his passion for writing into the public relations industry.
Quinn is an aspiring public relations professional who has extensive experience in the journalism world, providing him with a unique perspective as he continues his education. As an undergraduate, he established his portfolio by serving as the editor for the Pirate Life section of The Setonian and as an assistant news manager for WSOU-FM. He also completed a series of internships at various publications including Gotham Magazine, Vicinity Magazine and The Alternative Press. Upon graduation, Quinn worked for three years as a staff writer for the West Orange Chronicle and the News-Record of Maplewood and South Orange.
“Working for the newspapers was a truly incredible experience as it gave me the chance to write about a wide range of topics,” noted Quinn. “Aside from writing interesting articles, my time as a journalist also afforded me the opportunity to interview noteworthy people who I probably never would have spoken with otherwise. This includes actors like Henry Winkler; comedians like Louie Anderson; singers like Roseanne Cash; and New Jersey governors Brendan Byrne, Phil Murphy, and Richard Codey.”
Some of Quinn’s proudest achievements as a journalist were winning two New Jersey Press Association Awards (NJPA). He received third place for the Robert P. Kelly Award, which is presented to the best first-year reporters, and first place for the Arts and Entertainment Writing Award. These awards are both prestigious and competitive, and Quinn recalls being surprised and appreciative that the NJPA chose to recognize his writing ability and reporting skills.
Although Quinn loved being a journalist, he knew that he wanted to expand his career options. He enjoyed giving a voice to individuals by telling their story through his writing and informing the public about upcoming or current events. However, he felt that covering breaking news and condensing his articles to meet deadlines made it difficult to share these stories in the full capacity he desired. So he began researching public relations and found it matched much of his interests.
“I discovered that the parts I liked best about journalism are what public relations professionals do every day. Plus, since public relations complements journalism, I knew that all my experience as a reporter would serve as an asset when it came time to apply for jobs in the public relations field,” explained Quinn.
Before jumping into a new career, Quinn knew he should continue his education to gain greater insight into the mechanics and theories that drive the public relations industry. He learned about the graduate Public Relations program during his time as an undergraduate, so it was a natural extension to continue his graduate studies at the university that jumpstarted his career.
Quinn currently holds a coveted graduate assistantship for Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts, where he writes promotional recruitment materials and performs other tasks related to public relations. He also currently interns for the South Orange Performing Arts Center, where he writes press releases and pitches story ideas to local and national media outlets. By the end of this academic year, Quinn hopes to have a firm grasp on his public relations skills and how the industry operates. He is also looking forward to obtaining career guidance through his public relations professors and the Career Center.
“The education and opportunities Seton Hall University provided me with as an undergraduate played a large role in putting me on the path to becoming a journalist, which in turn led to me becoming interested in public relations. I’m sure Seton Hall will have just as much of an impact on me as a graduate student. I am thrilled to be back,” said Quinn.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.