Students in Professor Jennifer Floto’s J 351b class (Public Relations Media) were tasked with capturing the look, sound and feel of journalistic icon Robin Roberts’ recent visit to Annenberg. Floto stayed back in the classroom, challenging her students to “make her feel like she was at the forum.” Here’s the winning entry.
Robin Robert’s effervescent personality immediately put the audience at ease as she marched onto the stage. She engaged with the assembled students, faculty and staff in a no-holds-barred conversation relating with them on a human level. From her excitement about being on “ellen” later today, to how her face lit up when she talked about her childhood, Roberts washed away the illustrious journalist persona and allowed the students of USC Annenberg to see who she really is. She reminded the audience that she was once in their shoes—whether she was talking to a graduating senior soon entering the job market, or a student just starting to explore her passion for journalism – Roberts was once there, which made all of her insights all the more valuable. And while she was truly relatable as someone still trying to figure things out, she showed the entire audience what makes her an outstanding journalist: her ability to tell a story.
Roberts illuminated the conversation with tales from her childhood, experiences early in her career and life lessons that her mother taught her. Her vibrant storytelling ability allowed us to imagine 6-year-old Roberts moving to Turkey and grappling with the language; she also allowed us to experience the nerve-wracking moment she told the world about her battle with breast cancer on “Good Morning America.” Every anecdote humanized the already-relatable Roberts even more, and she made the event at the Annenberg forum feel like an intimate evening conversation on the sofa at her house.
That is why Roberts is so successful, because she is real, and passionate, and open—and just like us.