Message to the Class of 2012
I am a storyteller. From my first day on campus it was my job to wake up early, and prepare for my commute on the DC rails to find my next compelling narrative. Like many of my fellow colleagues, we have set out on the path to become storytellers.
As journalists, photographers, filmmakers, as graduates, this was the year for you to tell your story. It was the year of the revolutionary and to say this was the year of the communicator is an understatement. Together, we utilized social media as we watched budding countries deliver a message from a timid whisper to a cry heard around the world. It was the year of the protester. We occupied the streets from NYC to DC, re-inventing the term backpack journalism to encompass much more than a camera and pup tent.
During my tenure at AU I have become a “professional intern”. Since my first steps on campus, I have known the importance of a fresh pressed suit and how to nail the perfect handshake ala Professor Sarah Menke Fish. As a freshman in the Washington Mentorship Program, on Tenley Campus, I was inspired to do more for my school and my fellow students. I was a public servant of sorts, which compelled me to become a student ambassador. Choosing the unconventional route by taking on an internship my freshman year, walking into the BBC newsroom was quite a daunting task. However, the chaos of a broadcast studio had a lot of similarities to my triple in Federal and sharing a bathroom with 15 other girls.
But interning is just half the experience of all our lives at AU. Without the constant support of our professors we would not be here today. We have all met an inspiring mentor like Professors Menke-Fish, Bill Gentile, Jill Heitzman, and so many more in our lives here at SOC. Lessons from our professors did not end when the class time was complete but when the questions were all answered. These are the people who gave me the confidence and proficiency to secure my first paid position at MSNBC. My AU family celebrated my success as I was proudly selected as an intern and walked the historic halls of The White House. My work abroad as a documentary film editor in London was a testament to the AU reputation for excellence in the classroom.
What made this year at SOC so vibrant and noteworthy was my ability to move outside my comfort zone and challenge the traditional method of reporting the news. As a digital journalist, I had to reach people’s feelings with the news, through inspirational writing, film editing technique and field interviews by hearing the voices of the newsmakers. Digital journalists entice all the senses; we need to make people experience the news. As students of the SOC, we take what we learn from our professors and put them into practice in our numerous and at times, daunting internships. In the workplace, our AU affiliation is worn as a badge of honor, opening doors and prospects for employment.
We can all remember so fondly on a time where these professionals were the very people who led us to the success that jump-started our story arch. For me it was my very first USA Today national by-line where millions of people read and listened to my work while sipping their morning coffee.
As an editor, I have found you are in control of the destiny of your story. The conclusion of your narrative may fall at different peaks of your arch. For some, it comes at the end of an internship. For many, it’s when friends come and go. And for a lot of you, it comes today, at this very moment. No matter where our constantly changing world takes us, no matter how we tell our story, with words, with photographs, with video or through a campaign every day wake early, prepare for your commute and tell your story.