On the Job with J-School Graduates
On the Job blog features the new careers and advice from recent graduates of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. If you would like to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morning News Producer, KSNT News
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: I was born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas, and lived there until 2006. Then I moved a few miles east to the tiny town of Ford. Since Ford is too small to have a school, I went to Bucklin, where I graduated high school in 2012 with a class of 15 people. I had taken a few tours of KU and knew that's where I wanted to go. My senior year of high school, I got offered a dance and cheer scholarship at Dodge City Community College, so I decided to go a year there and get some gen eds out of the way. I ended up staying another year and got my associate of general studies degree. That final year was when I decided I wanted to be in journalism. In 2014, I finally made my way to KU, and the rest is history.
How did you get your current job? I started as an intern January 2017. When my internship was up, I told my news director I was interested in working for KSNT in Topeka, Kansas. Later that summer, I was offered the position of part-time breaking news producer. I updated the website, went to breaking news scenes, and provided VOSOTs to the evening and weekend newscasts. In March, I moved to full time. In June, I moved to the position of morning news producer.
What is your favorite J-School memory? All of the opportunities I've gotten. I've worked with Fox Sports, Time Warner Sports (now Spectrum). I was a reporter a couple times for the Bill Self Fantasy Camp. I've gotten to anchor both sports and news for KUJH, as well as write for the Kansan. I also worked at KJHK for a semester. The opportunities the J-School gave me were endless.
What advice would you give to journalism students? Don't slack off and think you can still pass. I had a low GPA and was actually out of the J-School for a short time. While I couldn't take any journalism classes until I brought my GPA up, I was still heavily involved. Another piece of advice is to try everything and be as involved as you can. The most important advice, however...have fun! Don't stress yourself out. You're only this young once, and you go to the greatest university out there. Enjoy it.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? I was given so many opportunities at KU and worked side by side with professionals. I got a lot of "real world" experience while still in school. Most professors genuinely care about you and want to help/see you succeed. The spring 2018 visiting professor, Dr. Janice Collins, helped me look over my contract at KSNT before I signed it. She explained things I didn't understand and encouraged me to be confident when negotiating parts of the contract.
Social Media Manager, Gossip Genie
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: Shelby is a J-School graduate now currently working and living in Chicago, Illinois. She was born and raised in Pawnee City, Nebraska and selected the University of Kansas as her college of choice as a freshman in high school. Shelby developed a passion for journalism at a young age but did not know it was her career path until after her first semester at KU. After enrolling in a first-year seminar in the J-School, Shelby immediately switched her major to journalism with a strategic communication emphasis and never looked back. Living in the heart of downtown Chicago, Shelby spends many hours managing a variety of social media accounts and running her own beauty and lifestyle blog.
How did you get your current job? I found my current job through a Facebook group for young college graduates looking for jobs in digital media. I knew that I wanted to work in digital media in a large metropolitan city, so I only applied for certain jobs in select cities. This made my job search more difficult, but so much more rewarding in the long run. Never settle when it comes to your career. I went through a few rounds of interviews and was ultimately hired on the spot. Walking down the hill on graduation, I had no idea what job I was going to land. It was an amazing feeling landing my first job out of college.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memory would have to be taking Strategic Campaigns with Professor David Johnston. You hear a lot about how campaigns is going to be a very difficult and stressful class; however, Professor Johnston did a great job at making it fun. We had a great client that semester and got to do a lot of interesting research surrounding college football. I loved my team and we had such a great time putting together our campaign. Presenting our final campaign was an amazing feeling, but the in-between moments are what made the class so great.
How did the J-School prepare you for the workforce? The J-School taught me that working in a journalism career field is anything but easy, but so worth it. Working in journalism is tough, but the J-School makes sure every student has everything they need to be successful in their future careers. I learned everything from writing, designing, marketing, production, you name it. There is so much variety in our coursework that I am able to use what I have learned every day.
What career advice do you have for journalism students? Build relationships with your professors! This is something that I learned very early on as a student in the J-School and I’m so glad that I did. Attend office hours, ask questions before and after class, and don’t be afraid to raise your hand. I was always the quiet one in class, so I understand how daunting it can be, but you won’t regret it. The professors in the J-School want to see you succeed and will help steer you in the direction of your post-college career. You never know when you’re going to need a letter of recommendation or a new door opened.
Account Manager, Americaneagle.com Inc.
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: Alana Flinn is a J-School graduate now working and living in Chicago, Illinois. As a news & information major, Alana received 13 official job offers by May graduation, including positions as marketing manager, producer, digital coordinator, anchor, reporter. She planned to work in sports broadcast after an ESPN internship her junior year, but ultimately accepted a position as an account manager on the Sitefinity team at AmericanEagle.com Inc. Now living in Chicago, Alana has acclimated to a bustling downtown lifestyle and enjoys exploring the third biggest U.S. city when she isn’t working at her dream job.
How did you get your current job? The company was recommended to me by a business owner who used AmericanEagle.com’s web development services. During my time at KUJH-TV, I was offered the opportunity to manage the website domain as well as its social media accounts. These development skills I gained helped me get an interview with AmericanEagle.com, and my communication experience demonstrated my ability to manage relationships between clients. When deciding your future career, keep in mind that you should pick your job based on two of three things: location, compensation and what the job is. The two factors that are most important to you will guide your decision.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memory is working side-by-side with lifelong friends in the newsroom. As a journalist, it’s tough to explain to many people iwhat you do and why you do it. However, being surrounded by likeminded people that want to fairly and accurately report the news with you is an incredible thing. I’m lucky enough to have made it through the newsroom with a wonderful class of humans that I now get to watch grow in their own careers.
What advice would you give to journalism students? My advice to journalism students is to be open to a variety of experiences in order to find your true calling in this field. Throughout my four years of college, I anchored for KUJH-TV, wrote for the Daily Kansan, built infographics, created social media posts, managed website content, studied media law and explored every realm of possibility in the journalism field. I could have allowed myself to get boxed in to just anchoring or just writing for the Kansan, but I wanted to diversify and have equal amounts strategic communication experience to my reporting experience. Use your four years of college to explore every aspect of journalism and gain surface level knowledge on many facets. Discover what you love, what you’re good at, and practice how you plan to deploy these newfound passions. You can do this through internships, campus jobs, classwork and journalism student organizations. Be aware that many journalism jobs do not require newsroom experience (website development positions, social media management, marketing, etc.), but it is a great place to learn organizational management, the politics of managing your peers, and time management.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The J-School prepared me through student organizations including KUJH-TV and the Kansan. In these environments, students are encouraged to hone their skills in functioning newsrooms. There, I gained the confidence to become a team leader, learned a new set of digital skills, and was encouraged to excel in any type of task I took on. I sat through the grammar courses, took the math classes and wrote countless essays throughout college, but the practical, hands-on experience and knowledge the student organizations provided prepared me for a successful career and future. Don’t let people tell you there are no jobs in journalism; As a 22-year-old straight out of J-School, I am proof that you can have the luxury of deciding between various job offers, salaries and locations.
Account Executive, Octagon
Graduation year: 2017
Biography: I'm from St. Joseph, Missouri, but I was raised a Jayhawk. When it came to choosing a college, the University of Kansas was my first choice. Being from Missouri, I received some grief for this, but it was easily the best decision I could have made. At KU, I was involved at the St. Lawrence Center and with SUA. I also interned with the School of Business, Kansas Athletics, the Kansas City Sports Commission and FC Kansas City. I loved having the opportunity to apply the skills I was learning in the classroom to practical experiences, and I loved working with and learning from so many great people.
How did you get your current job? Throughout college, I held a variety of marketing/communications internships, and a few were within the sports industry. Octagon is a sports and entertainment agency, so my different experiences helped me to build a skillset that was a good match for this position. Steve Rottinghaus at the Career Center and Dan McCarthy, my advisor, were also great resources throughout my job search.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memory would have to be Campaigns. It was really rewarding to have a chance to use everything that we had learned in all of our classes over the years and see it come together into an impressive final product. I met new people and learned a lot about working as a team. It was a truly great feeling to present our ideas to the client and showcase what we had accomplished.
What advice would you give to journalism students? My advice to current students would be to try to figure out what you're passionate about and find ways to learn more about it or gain experience within that. I love sports, so interning within that industry taught me more about it and prepared me to pursue a career in this after college.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The variety within our coursework was great. There are elements of different classes that I use daily in my job. I think the J-School does a great job in helping us to be well-rounded individuals that can contribute in many ways to an organization.
Community Programs Coordinator, Sporting Kansas City
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: I was born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas — once a Jayhawk always a Jayhawk. I graduated from the University of Kansas with bachelor's degress in journalism/strategic communication with a minor in business. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, volunteering and being outdoors. I am passionate about helping others and caring for the people in my life.
How did you get your current job? I started as an intern for Sporting Kansas City, and my entire senior year I was part-time commuting to Kansas City. I accepted the full-time position after graduation.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memory is being able to go outside on campus and study or sit there and enjoy being a student (it goes by fast!).
What advice would you give to journalism students? My advice to J-School students is not to rush anything or take things too seriously. College goes by so quick, and the second it is over you want to go back! I had a lot of success balancing my internship and job with fun, and that was very important.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The internship course that I took at KU was the most beneficial course I took. I learned what it took to work in the workforce and prepared myself for what comes next. I highly recommend taking this course with an internship.
Joshua Kenneth Suos
Associate, Digital Investment - Mindshare
Graduation year: 2017
Biography: Just a kid with little to lose and so much to gain.
How did you get your current job? I visited the company during an out-of-state ad crawl with the KU Ad Club and kept building relationships afterward.
What is your favorite J-School memory? Presenting our final Strategic Campaigns presentation because that was the moment all of our hard work (throughout not only the class, but my time as a J-School student) had paid off.
What advice would you give to journalism students? For any opportunity you’re presented with in life, the first best thing you’ll get out of it is that you’ll find what you want. The second best thing is that you’ll find what you don’t want. Everyone is on their own schedule. So just breathe. You're not late to anything; you're not early to anything. You're right on time.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The J-School has help prepared me for the professional world by teaching me the value of having confidence in my strengths and abilities. On top of that, the J-School taught me how having a great work ethic pays off in the long run.
Marketing Associate, Olsson Associates
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: I was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas, and raised a Jayhawk. My passion for my career runs in my family — my parents were both journalism majors and met working at the same radio station in Topeka. While at KU, I was involved in Greek life, The Big Event executive board, Journalism Student Ambassadors, and had multiple internships. I loved my time at KU and know the friends I made there will be life long.
How did you get your current job? I found my job through a posting on Indeed.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memory is working with Hallmark's Kaleidoscope as our client for Strategic Campaigns, the strategic communication capstone. Over the semester, my team became super close, and we still get together when we can and Snapchat each other nearly every day!
What advice would you give to journalism students? My advice would be to be open to different career paths. You can do nearly anything with a journalism degree if you have the skills and the right connections. During my time in the J-School, a lot of my fellow classmates aspired to work for an advertising agency, which is an amazing field full of opportunity and alumni. However, there are so many fields to go into that you may have never thought of! You can work in health care, higher education, AEC (architecture/engineering/construction), technology, media and more. I never expected to be in my current field, but I've learned so much and have met the greatest people!
Multimedia Journalist, KMTV
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: I started working in studios and production sets at age 16 in high school for Niles Media Group. They pointed me in the direction of KUJH once I got to KU. That's where I started reporting on news and sports while hosting specials like the 2016 election and traveling to events like the NCAA Tournament.
How did you get your current job? I started working at KUJH on campus as a freshman and connected with folks at KSNT in Topeka over time. KSNT brought me on my junior year, where I worked both full time and part time covering news and sports until graduation. I wanted to see what other opportunities were out there after graduating, and the position in Omaha opened up at KMTV.
The J-School has allowed me to travel to multiple NCAA Tournaments for KU basketball (and Bill Self has led KU there year after year, so I have him to thank, too). Also, teachers like Cal Butcher helped me gain real-world experience by working for FOX Sports for Kansas City Chiefs games. It's the real-world experience that helped me stand out in the eyes of KMTV.
When I asked my boss why I stood out to him, he said it was the experience that compares to those who graduate from Missouri or Syracuse. That's one of the highest compliments I've ever received.
What is your favorite J-School memory? The camaraderie built with classmates and professors at KUJH and the J-School. I'm seeing friends who are working at places they dreamed of thanks to the efforts the J-School gives its students. I think the J-School cares so much for its students.
What advice would you give to journalism students? Take advantage of the opportunities the J-School is providing you! You can only learn so much in the classroom. The experience and knowledge you gain put you ahead of the competition.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? I've learned how to write concisely and effectively, shoot compelling video, tell engaging stories, communicate efficiently while being personable and professional. Teachers like Chris Bacon, Max Utsler, Chad Curtis, Kerry Benson, and Cal Butcher have taught me how fun this field can be and how the world needs journalists.
Interactive Marketing Specialist, Capitol Federal Bank
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: I am originally from Wichita, Kansas, and I came to KU with the intention of being an accounting major. Then after a few course accounting courses, I started looking into the J-School. After JOUR 101, I was sold. I knew the J-School would be a great fit for me. In May 2018, I graduated from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and my emphasis was in strategic communication. During my last semester, I was offered a position at Capitol Federal Bank as an interactive marketing specialist. In January, I will begin working on my master's degree in mass communications.
How did you get your current job? In January of 2018, I started at Capitol Federal as a marketing intern, then in February, I was offered a full-time position once I graduated.
What is your favorite J-School memory? Hands down my favorite J-School memory would be the summer class I took with Kerry Benson. She was a firecracker from start to finish of the course. She also pushed her students to reach their full potential. Another J-School memory would be studying aboard. I did the Creativity and Culture in Rome last summer, and it was a life-changing experience.
What advice would you give to journalism students? Utilize all the resources at your fingertips. Sign up for those Adobe sessions with Heather Lawrenz and anything else that is offered. Having those skills puts you ahead of those who don't have those skills.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? A few of the most impactful courses I took in the J-School were J304: Media Writing and J560: Message Development. They helped me improve my writing skills and also how to produce creative, well-established content.
Marketing Coordinator, Populous
Graduation year: 2017
Biography: Hanna is a J-School graduate who is now working and living in Kansas City near the Country Club Plaza. As a strategic communication major, she never expected to be working with architects on a daily basis, but found herself accepting a marketing coordinator position at Populous just after graduation. Now she is creating proposals and helping with strategy for her designated markets every day. During the past two summers, Hanna interned at Bernstein-Rein and VML, which really helped her get her foot in the door to the real world. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her dog and her loved ones, exploring her new city, discovering new places to eat, and shopping way too much.
How did you get your current job? I found the job on Indeed. I had also previously interviewed at Populous for an internship, so I knew people in the marketing department. They decided to interview me, and I got the job within a few days. Getting your first real job right when you graduate is such a great feeling!
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memory is probably when Kerry Benson helped me (more like pushed me, hard) to get over my fear of public speaking, or when I became really good friends with my campaigns group. We still communicate to this day even though we have all gone separate ways.
What advice would you give to journalism students? My advice to journalism students is to attend the events the J-school holds, such as the Career Fair at the Union. It really helped me find my career path and network with amazing people. Although I recommend working hard, the J-School also brought me some great friends. Become friends with people in your classes and make fun memories, because it goes by way too fast.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The J-School provides wonderful professors and resources to help you succeed. I learned about a ton of job opportunities throughout my college career, which really helped me land internships and my current job. The professors at the J-School also helped me perfect my resume, which really has a huge impact on whether or not an employer considers you for a job.
Client Engagement Specialist, Quest Diagnostics
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: Originally born in Kansas City, I found a passion for journalism after watching "The Devil Wears Prada" and "13 Going on 30." I was fortunate enough to pursue this passion at KU, where I discovered my love for strategic communication. The transition from graduate to professional has been both fun and exhausting, but I've been able to manage it with the help of my pug named Bu$ter.
How did you get your current job? One of my classmates who works for Insight Global notified Dr. Chen about the open position. She passed it on to me, and I went for it!
What is your favorite J-School memory? There was a show in Media Crossroads called "LFK" that ran for about two seasons. We produced maybe two episodes the year I participated in it, but meeting other people who loved comedy and making videos as much as I did really helped me feel connected to the school and also helped me get more skilled in video editing.
What advice would you give to journalism students? Get to know your classmates. Everyone has a story and as journalists, it’s our job to uncover them. There are so many beautiful people who walk through Stauffer-Flint every single day who have incredible ideas and who can help you become a more well-rounded person.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? Campaigns definitely taught me the value of accountability and confidence. The workforce is looking for people who are organized and who can get their work done efficiently. Thankfully, these are things Dr. Chen required for her students to survive.
Business Development Rep, Zego
Graduation year: 2017
Biography: I came to KU from Las Vegas, not knowing anyone. During my four years, I got involved in KJHK, Alpha Epsilon Pi, started my own music journalism blog, and met some of the best folks I've ever known. I now call Kansas City my home and bleed crimson and blue.
How did you get your current job? I signed up for every job search website online. I still get countless emails from ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, etc. Just apply for everything. Apply to 200 jobs a day. Get as many interviews as you can. Follow up with emails and calls. Be persistent. Make yourself seen. If you think you’re bothering them, you’re doing great. Don’t just knock on the door, kick that thing down. That’s how you’ll get hired. Passion is something they don’t teach in the classroom, and it’s the secret to being successful. Passion is the big secret in life.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite J-School memories come from getting to know some of my professors: Yvonnes Chen, Chuck Marsh, Jon Peters, Lisa McLendon, and many more.
What advice would you give to journalism students? Professional advice: Get highly involved in jobs, internships, clubs and activities. It'll make finding a job a lot easier. Personal advice: See more concerts and write about them.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The J-School does an amazing job preparing you for everything real life throws at you. Whether you're writing, designing, marketing, etc., the skills you learn in these classes are definitely in use. Plus, if you don't write with intelligence and vibrancy, people will hate reading your emails.
National Stylist Team, Trunk Club
Graduation year: 2018
Biography: I am from St. Louis, Missouri, and majored in journalism/strategic communication and minored in business. I was originally in the business school with the intention to be a marketing major, so I took a few marketing classes in addition to my journalism studies to round out my marketing interests. I was a marketing intern for Allied Global Services in Lenexa for about a year and a half, starting my spring semester junior year and working there until I graduated. I intended to enter the marketing industry post-grad but realized that I missed the retail industry. I worked for Nordstrom as a seasonal sales associate for two years prior to my internship with Allied, so I am really excited to work for the company again. I have been visiting Chicago ever since I was a little girl, so this opportunity is a great fit. In addition to working for Trunk Club, I hope to do some freelance creative marketing. I am also helping my mom with her new business venture by handling the marketing and graphic design elements.
How did you get your current job? I originally came across Trunk Club at the J-School Career Fair when I was a sophomore, I believe. I planned on applying for a summer internship at the Chicago headquarters but ended up getting an internship back home in St. Louis instead and never got the chance to apply. I did most of my post-grad job search on LinkedIn, which is where I saw the posting for the position in Chicago. They were kind enough to offer a video chat interview, so I didn’t have to travel to Chicago. After they offered me the position, I went to Chicago to check out the space, and I loved it so I accepted!
What is your favorite J-School memory? My favorite memory is taking Campaigns with Dr. Chen. I had an incredible experience with this class and owe a lot to my fantastic team and professor. I was creative director for our agency, which allowed me to grow as a graphic designer. My team became extremely close with each other and Dr. Chen, creating a both personal and professional experience. Even though the class is intimidating, having the right professor can truly make or break your experience and I 250% recommend taking it with Dr. Chen if you get the privilege.
What advice would you give to journalism students? Being a strategic communication major, so many doors are opened for you. My advice would be to keep an open mind to things you aren’t familiar with or may not necessarily enjoy and take advantage of everything you can achieve with this degree. At first, I did not enjoy graphic design and had very little interest in managing social media accounts from a business perspective. My marketing internship ended up being mostly those two things, and now I love them. I used to struggle with InDesign, and now it’s almost therapeutic for me, so it’s funny how things work out sometimes.
How has the J-School prepared you for the workforce? The J-School taught me so many basics and that allowed me to pick what I wanted to grow on. I learned to never underestimate myself or my abilities. The J-School has played a crucial role in helping me to figure out who I am, what I am good at, and what I can make a career out of.
Customer Success Coordinator, ShopperTrak
Biography: I'm from Geneva, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and grew up with a passion for storytelling. I graduated with a strategic communications degree, business minor, and Certificate of Professional Selling. During my time at KU, I was a member of Greek Life, competed in various professional selling competitions, and worked at the KU Endowment Association and Journalism School.
How did you get your current job? I was an Engagement Services intern at ShopperTrak the summer after my sophomore and junior year and was offered a full-time position on the newly re-branded Customer Success team the last day of my internship.
What is your favorite J-School memory? My last semester I took Campaigns with Professor David Johnston and Social Media in Strategic Communication with Dr. Hyunjin Seo. Both classes partnered with a client to deliver a strategic campaign, an incredibly challenging and rewarding task. A semester of late nights and early mornings turned into campaigns I was so proud to present. The time spent with my two groups are memories I'll never forget!
What advice would you give to journalism students? Find mentors in your professors, advisers, managers, co-workers, and friends! The Journalism School is full of bright leaders that want to see you excel. Grow with your classmates and build your network early. Produce content you believe in. Seek truth and report it.
Editorial Assistant, Mansueto Ventures (Inc. and Fast Company)
Graduation year: May 2018
Biography: I graduated with degrees in journalism and English. At its core, my love for writing comes from interviewing interesting people, conducting research and writing material that teaches others as much as it teaches myself. I used that passion to work with the women’s long -orm publication The Riveter magazine while I was a student. I went from a contributing writer as a freshman to the digital editor of the magazine as a senior, and I also landed bylines at Inc. magazine, Shine Text and Clover Letter by the time I graduated. When I’m not writing, I enjoy flexing my barista background by pulling the perfect espresso shot for myself in the morning, biking around trails in my neighborhood or planning for my next trip abroad. I pushed my limits by climbing the Thórsmörk mountain range last summer in Iceland, and it’s been one of my biggest accomplishments yet.
How did you get your current job? J-School Associate Professor Carol Holstead encouraged me to apply for the 2017 American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) internship in New York City, and I ended up applying and being accepted to spend the summer after my junior year as an intern at Inc. magazine in New York City. That internship gave me valuable connections whom I reached out to after I graduated. When an entry-level position opened up at the magazine, my colleagues reached out to me directly to apply for it. To my delight, I was offered the job.
What do you like best about your job? My job is with Mansueto Ventures, which owns business publications Inc. and Fast Company. I’m an editorial assistant, so my job is to assist executive management and senior editors in a variety of administrative tasks within the office. The best part? I still get opportunities to do reporting, write my own stories, and tackle other editorial projects as well.
How did the J-School prepare you for the workforce? The J-School gave me the confidence to establish authority as a writer and taught me important skills that set me apart from other recent graduates. The professors within the school always believed in me, and their advice served me well outside of school. As a student, there is nothing more valuable than having successful mentors who push you to do your best.
What career advice do you have for journalism students? Be curious, ask lots of questions and stay informed on what’s happening in the world around you. It’s also important to join student organizations, work off-campus jobs or find other ways to do work in your desired field. Once you do get involved, be sure to be friendly, helpful and a joy to work with to those around you. In the end, it is your network and your connections that you make during your time as a student that will help you land that first job after school. Good luck!