I am not graduating this semester, thankfully, because I really do need as much more time as I can get to decide where I want to apply the incredible skills I’ve learned at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. Plus, I have a couple more graduation requirements to meet, but that’s besides the point.
The point is, my experience at UF has been more than I could have ever dreamed of. I started out as a reporter for spot-news segments for WUFT-FM‘s local news cut-ins, and went on to anchor live coverage of the 2012 Presidential Election for WUFT-TV. The Center for Media Innovation and Research has provided me with advanced resources to produce professional, multi-platform work. These lessons have prepared me for working in the “real world,” and I am now facing the ultimate dreaded question: what do I want to do? This question arises not because I am not confident in my preparation for “the real world,” but because I want to ensure that the invaluable skills I’ve acquired through CMIR will be applied in the most meaningful context for me.
I have acquired journalistic skills, such as timeliness, research, and ethical practices, along with more practical skills, such as leadership, networking, and open-mindedness. I have witnessed the great transitions at the J-school through my four years here, particularly the development of the Integrated News Facility. Here, is where the goals put out by CMIR–to produce cross-platform productions— were really put to the test, with the production of material for radio, television, and internet broadcast.
I have performed the role of anchor, producer, news operations manager, multimedia journalist, and various other behind-the-scene production roles at the INF. It has been truly invigorating to contribute to the success of this program and its broadcasts, particularly in a few specific experiences I had, such as Election Night 2012.
In November, I anchored and co-produced live cut-in segments on local election returns which aired during PBS’s national coverage of the presidential election. This was by far one of the most challenging undertakings of my college career, as time flew by way faster than I expected during the night, material such as return numbers and reporter packages came in one right after the other, and I had to work amidst varying levels of stress, egos, and excitement among my colleagues. Yet, the result was a nationally recognized successful and important production. To me, this is the ultimate portrayal of the outstanding opportunities that CMIR at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications provides for its students.
In particular, CMIR has provided me with the skills to tackle projects across various platforms, perform overlapping roles in a production, and understand the value of teamwork and communication. While election night was the most significant depiction of all these skills at work, I have unwavering thoughts that these experiences will remain invaluable to me for the rest of my working life, and I know I’m not the only who who thinks so.