How Temple student media helped me find my career path

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| ALLYSON THARP / THE TEMPLE NEWS

In February 2020, my family and I arrived on Main Campus for Experience Temple Day, an event to help admitted students learn more about the university and their major. I was admitted to the journalism program and was eager to see what Klein College of Media and Communication had to offer.

I sat in the basement of Annenberg Hall and listened to Larry Stains, the assistant chair of the journalism department, explain all the student media opportunities at Temple. As he walked the group through the various student-run outlets — WHIP Radio, TUTV and The Temple News — I could already see myself getting involved.

I’m a big believer in the importance of trying everything. I often recall a quote from journalist Hunter S. Thompson, written when he was just 20 years old, in a letter to a friend seeking life advice.

“Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience,” Thompson wrote. “As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.”

Thompson’s words align with perhaps my one, principal philosophy: all experience is good experience. 

I committed to trying everything I could throughout my time at Temple. All my experiences ultimately helped me find what I was passionate about, shaping the path I wanted to take after college.

I came to campus in August 2021 eager to get involved after spending half of my freshman year at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I knew I wanted to go into journalism, but had no idea what I wanted to do within the field.

The greatest part about being a Klein student is being immersed in a culture of getting involved in extracurriculars. Our professors and mentors push us to get involved in everything we can. I would argue the hands-on experience gained in student media organizations is just as, if not more, important than coursework for their major.

I attended a meeting for WHIP Radio’s News Department during the first week of the semester. It was one of the smaller outlets on campus, but I loved learning to create show rundowns, produce audio pieces and get more comfortable talking on air. 

I was hired as the director of the department the next year. Assistant News Director Pablo Rouco and I worked to grow the news team, bringing interviews back and pushing our members to go out, report and create more content.

My work at WHIP led to an opportunity at The Temple News when then-editor-in-chief Lawrence Ukenye hired me as a News Staff Writer. I gained so much valuable experience reporting on breaking news and improving my writing skills while at The Temple News.

It wasn’t until a summer internship at a TV station in Richmond, Virginia, that I realized I had found what I was really passionate about: broadcast journalism. The visual side of news brought an added layer of creativity and expression that excited me, and I started to map a path upward in the broadcast industry.

I spent my senior year preparing in every way I could for my first job out of college in television. I took audio/visual classes, got an internship at NBC10 Philadelphia, and most importantly, took the Temple Update News Production Practicum.

While interning at NBC10, I spent a night shadowing Johnny Archer, a reporter and Temple alumnus. I expressed to him that I wished I had gotten involved in the broadcast side of news sooner.

“Don’t say that, man,” he replied. “Don’t regret anything you did, it’s all experience that you’ll apply in some way during your career.”

He was right. It eased any concerns I had about my track in college and about a month later, I accepted a job offer to produce at the station I interned at in Richmond, my hometown.

I’ll spend my first contract learning more about all aspects of a broadcast newsroom, which will further prepare me for whatever’s next.

After working on my journalism degree and gaining experience in student media, I am so grateful for every endeavor I was involved in. I learned from some of the industry’s best mentors and made great friends who have such bright futures in journalism. I’m thankful that every experience was a necessary stop on the journey towards finding my passion.

As I prepare to graduate, I realize that my passions will continue to evolve and grow. I remember that people often forget the saying “jack of all trades, master of none” is followed by “but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

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