- Name (First and Last)
Eastern Illinois University/Indiana State University
Journalism instructor/Media Content Coordinator and PhD student
- Graduation Year (list as "Month Year")
- Minor and/or Certificates
Lake Villa, IL
music, outdoor activities
Career Information & Advice
Please answer each of the following questions with as much detail as possible while keeping your answers succinct (aim for 2 - 4 sentences per question).
- What are your job responsibilities/duties?
I teach Writing for News Media at Eastern Illinois University, as well as graduate-level, online courses for publications advisers. As I finish up my last semester of coursework for my PhD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Media Technology at Indiana State University, I also am the Media Content Coordinator for Indiana State Online.
- What does a typical day look like?
Much of my time is spent on writing and research, as I study curriculum models of how journalism schools are adjusting to the ubiquitous nature of digital media. Otherwise, I am normally splitting my time between EIU and ISU, working with students, doing interviews, running social media accounts, and the like. I also run social media and help administrate the website for the Illinois Journalism Education Association.
- What do you most enjoy about your job?
Right now, I love that I am actively reporting, writing, and working on multimedia/social media, as well as teaching about those areas. Being a professional practitioner allows me to have students workshop a lede I am constructing, as often as I give feedback on theirs. It leads to a beautifully collaborative learning environment.
- What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
In the current era, the conversations we have about news are vital but complex. Students are wary and overwhelmed by the larger discussions that journalists are having, but at the same time, we are all invigorated by it. There is much competing for the titles of "truth" and "facts" today; therefore, it is an essential time to be a journalist, and I am hoping that this tumultuous time may lead to a kind of journalism renaissance.
- What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
I was a reporter for the Daily Illini in my first few years, and later, I worked with SPIKE (the former online publication for the Department of Journalism) and then became the editor-in-chief of Illini Journalist (the department's newsletter). I had the great privilege of working with Dana Ewell in that last endeavor, and I apply everything she taught me -- particularly her unerring sense of journalistic ethics -- each day in both my professional and instructor capacities.
- How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
I remember each professor I had and nearly each lesson taught at U of I. From Robert Reid's thoughts on the value of community journalism and advanced reporting to Eric Meyer's high standards on infographics and design, I have applied what I have learned both as a professional journalist in newspapers for a number of years, then as a high school newspaper and yearbook adviser, and now as a journalism instructor.
- What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
At Eastern Illinois, I tell my students all the time that it isn't the courses you take but what do you outside of them that matters. It was my time working on and for publications that cemented those lessons learned, and I am grateful that I was able to do both rigorous coursework along with practical publications experience during my time at U of I.
- What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
In 1997-2001, we were just starting to understand the revolution that digital media would cause in the craft of journalism. I was thankful I took Steven Helle's 199 course for online journalism -- learning HMTL was more relevant than I ever could have imagined. However, I do wish I would have dabbled on the broadcast side a bit more. I create multimedia packages nearly every week now, but I had to learn much on the fly. The good news is that the foundational principles have applied no matter the tools involved, and I am thankful for that.