February 2018 Student Spotlight - Tommy Brooksbank

Tommy Brooksbank

Name: Tommy Brooksbank

Major:  Broadcast Journalism, Political Science (double major)

Expected graduation: May 2018

Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Favorite thing about your hometown: Snowboarding!

Why did you choose to attend Annenberg?

As soon as I saw my acceptance letter from USC, I knew where I was going to college. It wasn’t just the Trojan Family; Annenberg seemed like the perfect school for me. Countless award-winning faculty members, a hands-on learning environment, and Wallis Annenberg Hall was opening its doors for the first time. I was going to Annenberg and I didn’t doubt it for a second.

Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you've had here at Annenberg.

The Maymester program in New York City was one of the best experiences of my life. The whole trip was pretty unbelievable. From sitting down with the Good Morning America anchor team to rubbing shoulders with basketball stars like Magic Johnson at the NBA Draft Lottery- it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I learned so much from the top industry professionals we met with and made countless connections that would have been impossible without participating in the program.

What makes Annenberg special?

What separates Annenberg from other journalism and communication schools across the country is the collaboration it emphasizes. From the classroom to the Media Center, teamwork is emphasized as it’s a critical skill many students need after college. Especially in the news industry, your job is one part of the larger whole. Reporters depend on producers to lay out and refine stories, just as editors rely on solid reporting to publish content. Roles get intertwined with one another and everyone must work together to be successful. Annenberg’s collaboration makes the school special and gives its students a leg up once they enter the workforce.

What's one thing at USC that no student should miss?

All the crazy events we have on campus. Almost every week, there’s a Pulitzer Prize winner or retired general at USC to talk with students. Most of the time these events are free and you’re invited to them (hint: read all your emails). Just last Friday, I went to a really interesting talk with Arianna Huffington. The week before there was a free screening of The Post with film critics. Take advantage of these opportunities!

Tell us about an experience you’ve had outside of class.

Last summer, I interned with CNN’s digital video team in New York City. I wrote, gathered footage, and edited day-turn videos on the latest headlines as well as assisted on special projects and shoots. It was so rewarding to be a part of the team and create work that was published by a major news network. New York is such a dynamic city as well; it was a summer full of new and exciting experiences. I would not have been able to handle the expectations of my internship without everything I’ve learned at Annenberg. I felt prepared when I arrived at CNN, and it’s thanks to our stellar faculty and curriculum.

What's your favorite spot on campus and why?

The Media Center. There’s no place on campus that’s quite like it. If you’re walking by and glance through the glass windows, it probably looks like chaos. Students are running around frantically, people are yelling, and most of the faces are filled with stressed expressions. But once you take a step inside, you never want to leave. All around you, students are working on groundbreaking investigations and finding unique angles to tell stories with state-of-the-art equipment the university provides. There’s an army of talented journalists waiting to help on any project or answer any question you have. It’s a great place to collaborate with other students and work towards a goal you all share.

What's your plan for after graduation?

Get a job at a major broadcasting network (fingers crossed). I’m just beginning the search but I can’t wait to see where I end up!