My passion for journalism started in third grade when I became a “cub reporter” for a television show called Kid Stuff. The show, which was broadcasted to the metro Detroit area, featured news of interest to kids in Michigan. During my three years as a reporter, I interviewed zoo keepers about the animals at the Detroit Zoo, gave book reviews at Borders and reported on feature pieces about the Franklin Cider Mill and Brighton’s Christmas Day Parade. Needless to say I was hooked on journalism by my 11th birthday.
Although I haven’t returned to my broadcast roots, I have spent a lot of time working in print journalism. I attended North Farmington High School, where my journalism teacher taught me the power of the written word and how it can impact everything from local school policies to victims of the genocide in Darfur. During my time on North Farmington’s Northern Star staff, I contributed to two special edition news magazines: one on genocide and the other on Detroit. Both were more than 60 pages and included sources throughout Michigan, the United States and world. By senior year I became the opinion and copy editor and was one of a handful of students who kept the paper going while our journalism teacher was on leave. (As a fun fact, my senior class voted me “Most likely to become editor of The New York Times.”)
In the summer before college I interned at The Detroit Jewish News. The internship gave me the opportunity to write and edit articles for the teen and regular sections of the weekly paper.
While the University of Michigan does not have a journalism school — or even journalism major — I decided to become a Wolverine and gain journalism experience by writing for The Michigan Daily. Throughout freshman year I was a copy editor and checked facts, names and grammar. By second semester I was ready to write, and I became the science beat reporter for the news section. In this position, I covered research and scientific breakthroughs at the university. I also wrote articles concerning Proposal 2, which lifted stem cell research restrictions in Michigan.
During the summer of 2009, I was an associate news editor for the Daily’s summer edition which publishes weekly. I also interned at The Oakland Press in Pontiac, Michigan. There, I covered local events, businesses and people in Oakland County. I also worked on the police beat and gathered crime reports from the West Bloomfield Police Department. By the end of the summer I had more than 60 bylines — with multiple front page stories.
At the beginning of sophomore year I was appointed the administration beat reporter for the Daily. In this position I covered University faculty meetings and held regular interviews with the university president and provost. In this time I also launched an investigation on the university’s Department of Public Safety Oversight Committee, which is a group of faculty, staff and students whose main responsibility is to keep check on the campus police. My investigation revealed multiple errors in the election processes of the representatives and showed the election procedures at the time violated a state statute. The election processes for faculty and student representatives has since been amended.
In January 2010 I was named a senior news editor in charge of overseeing the Daily’s city and student government beats. My responsibilities included assigning and editing articles as well as designing news pages.
During the summer of 2010, I interned at USA TODAY. For three months, I worked in the Life section covering the health and behavior, education and religion beats. I interviewed prominent people such as Sally Ride and Jean Kennedy Smith. In total, I produced about 30 bylines on articles in print and online. I also contributed to the science, religion and pet blogs. Besides honing my writing skills, I got an inside look at the state of the news industry and learned what reporters, editors and publishers are doing to combat declining readership and competition from other media outlets.
In October 2010, I was elected editor in chief of The Michigan Daily and became the first female to hold the position in 10 years. During my year-long term, I was responsible for editing Daily content, overseeing the design of pages and running a staff of about 170 writers, photographers and designers. Some of the goals my editors and I accomplished include:
- Doubling the number of ‘likes’ on The Michigan Daily’s Facebook page
- Increasing the number of @michigandaily Twitter followers by about 5,000
- Launching new Twitter accounts such as @michdailyarts, @michdailyoped, @michdailyfball, @michdailyhockey, @michdailybball
- Creating new e-newsletters with stories about Ann Arbor, arts and the top articles of the week
- Creating the website www.themichdiff.com
- Launching the Michigan Daily store page to sell posters and Daily memorabilia
- Holding a one-day conference for high school journalism students
- Producing a coffee table book containing photos and articles about the football program that were printed in the Daily since 1980
During the summer of 2011, I was a CNN.com intern and wrote articles for the Living and Travel sections. Many of my articles became the top-read stories on CNN.com, including a story about endangered historic places in the United States that generated 1.3 million clicks in one day. Besides writing, I formatted articles — which includes placing links, videos and images — for the website and was in charge of formatting stories sent to CNN from content providers such as Oprah, Real Simple, Parenting and Southern Living. While my strength is writing, I took on a challenge and learned how to build photo galleries as well as find and crop images to be paired with dozens of articles. When the internship ended, I walked away with a better understanding of online journalism.
Although no one can predict the future state of journalism, I believe there will always be a need for news and information. I am confident about pursuing a career as a reporter, and I am excited to see where this career will take me.