Last semester, my media center shift fell on Monday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. It was without a doubt the highlight of my week—not only because I got to write stories for USC Annenberg Media, but also because I looked forward to the editorial meeting at 8:30 a.m. I love editorial meetings because I enjoy hearing about the day’s news, talking through stories and collaborating as a team with other writers, reporters, editors and producers.
Imagine my excitement when I saw on the first scheduled day of the NYC Maymester that we would be attending ABC News’ 3 p.m. editorial meeting. Jitters. Truly, I got jitters because I was so excited. And I can say with confidence that the meeting was better than I could have ever imagined. Eighteen students and two teachers crammed in a small conference room with 20 or more ABC employees. At the head of the table was ABC News’ president, James Goldston, and editors from every section filled in the rest of the chairs.
The meeting started with a briefing via Skype from their Washington D.C. office on topics regarding Trump, Comey, and a Syrian prison and crematorium. Then, just like our Monday morning meetings in the media center, Goldston went around the room and asked everyone at the table to pitch their story ideas. I loved watching the editorial process unfold, and it was even better to see those stories live on ABC News’ website later that night.
When all the reporters left the room and we had a chance to talk with Goldston, I noticed a theme throughout the conversation: teamwork. There’s something special about a newsroom in that there’s a great sense of community and understanding for one another. Everyone has a shared goal of reporting news in a fair and timely manner so the public stays informed on important issues—and that’s no small feat. It takes a strong team to get the news out every day.
Behind Goldston’s shoulder was a poster that listed ABC News’ 2017 values. Value No. 5 was, “We win as a team.” As an aspiring journalist, I have never felt more confident in my career choice after seeing Good Morning America, visiting the ABC newsroom, hearing from reporter Tom Llamas, talking to Goldston and then reading that poster. There’s something to be said about a group of people—rather, a team—that work together effectively, discuss contentious topics openly and meet collective goals together everyday.
Visiting ABC News was truly a special experience, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to observe this team up close. Annenberg is preparing its students to work in teams similar to ABC News, and I’m so thankful to have that foundation before I enter the workforce in two years after graduation.
P.S. I found out that ABC News has another editorial meeting at 9 a.m. everyday. Two in one day? What could be better!
My favorite thing about USC is that I learn something new every day, whether in class, at my sorority or in the media center. There’s a diverse range of ideas from students who come from all around the world, and I couldn’t be prouder to be in such an intellectual environment.
My love of school used to make me scared to enter the workplace. Although I’ve had several internships, I’ve been in school nearly my entire life. I can’t imagine what that first August after graduation is going to be like when I don’t go back to school after summer.
A lot of people have said, “Work is work,” and claim that life isn’t that exciting once you graduate from college. I’ve learned quite the opposite about working for a media company in New York City. Nearly every person I talked to—at LinkedIn, Facebook, The New York Times, NBA, ABC, NBC and everywhere in between—said that they learn something new every day. It might not be a traditional classroom setting, but I found that remaining curious is a key pillar to success at their respective companies.
The NBA’s Executive Vice President of Communications, Mike Bass, said, “Passion to learn is critical.” One of my greatest takeaways from our chat with CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin was that with listening comes learning. At theSkimm, founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg gave this advice, “Never get comfortable.” After conversations with media professionals, I felt relief and excitement for whatever comes after college, rather than fear and discouragement.
At the Annenberg Reception where students, parents and alumni gathered for a night of hors d'oeuvres and networking, the 18 Maymester students had a chance to sit down with Dean Ernest J. Wilson III to discuss what we learned throughout this trip and what could be changed for next year’s cohort. We couldn’t name one thing to change for next year, but we could talk for hours about everything we loved.
One of Dean Wilson’s greatest projects at USC was developing Third Space Thinking. This project emphasizes five essential soft skills that graduates don’t always have but are necessary for success in the workplace. The five traits are 360 degree thinking, cultural competency, adaptability, empathy and intellectual curiosity.
During the chat with Dean Wilson, I had a moment to express how thankful I was to attend the NYC Maymester and a few themes I noticed throughout our conversations with media professionals. Aside from teamwork, curiosity was clearly necessary for journalistic success. It makes sense considering the journalists who are responsible for informing the world about significant events must be interested in covering and investigating them. A journalist who’s not curious about the world around them simply cannot inform the world.
The company visits this trip made me so excited for the future. Not only do I see that journalism is more important than ever, but I also see that journalists have so many learning opportunities every day. They are at the forefront of the public’s knowledge. Journalists have the opportunity go out into the world; research, investigate and learn; and report their findings to local, national and international audiences. Basically, you get to learn and relay your findings to an audience who can learn from it.
If you ask me, that’s the coolest and most rewarding job in the entire world.
New York and the Trojan network
I’ve never felt more like a part of the Trojan family than I did on the NYC Maymester. Nearly everywhere we went, we were greeted with open arms by USC alumni who were eager to teach us about their companies and give us a tour of their offices. It was wonderful to see the Trojan connection bringing people together.
The Trojan network was made very obvious to me during our visit to LinkedIn. We met with Evan Tiedeman, a recent USC graduate, and while we were waiting for her in the lobby, a man named Nick walked by and asked if we were part of the USC group. We all said, “Yes!” and he told us that he also graduated from USC. We started talking and before he handed us off to Evan, he gave us his email in case we ever wanted to reach out to learn more about his position and what the transition was like from LA to NYC. How cool is that? We barely knew each other, but because of the Trojan network, Nick was willing to connect and give us advice.
I also had a really great time at both the Alumni Dinner and the Annenberg Reception. It was so great hearing about everyone’s experiences transitioning from college to their respective careers. One of my sorority sisters even put me in touch with a girl who had graduated two years before I got to college. We met up at the dinner and reception, and we talked about her experiences in Annenberg, abroad, and in our sorority. It was so great getting to know someone older than me that I can now look up to.
I also loved hearing about the USC Alumni Club of New York. There are events all the time for alumni in the city, and I think it’s awesome that people make an effort to get to know other Trojans after graduation and so far away from campus. The Trojan network is forever, and I definitely felt that on this trip.
I think the many positive experiences I had with alumni made me love New York even more. Before this trip, I had only been to NYC twice and both visits were in February. I love the snow, but New York City in the summer is something else. One of the first days of the trip, I walked through Central Park with my new friends and there were so many people out exercising and families playing on the grass. It was such a happy environment, and I could definitely envision myself living and working in New York and hanging out in Central Park on the weekends.
It makes me feel so happy that there are so many Trojans in NYC, and I can’t wait to be part of that east coast network someday.