From Kari Williams: Student newsrooms are a haven for aspiring journalists

Name: Kari Williams

College Publications: The Alestle (Edwardsville, Illinois)

Where I am now:Associate Editor, VFW magazine

I started working for the Alestle, SIUE’s student-run newspaper, my first semester on campus. Without that, I guarantee I would not be where I’m at. I learned how to build rapport in a community, work a beat and cover controversial or sensitive topics with grace.

I was fortunate enough to serve as editor in chief my final semester. That opportunity gave me a world of knowledge about writing, editing, managing a diverse staff and working with reporters who need a little more guidance — all things that have transferred over to my professional career.

Our adviser, Tammy Merrett, and writer’s coach, Jill Cook, are people I still turn to when I need advise or guidance. Had I only taken journalism classes at SIUE, I would not have had the real-world experience that I truly needed to move into my first job after college.

In general, student newsrooms are a haven for aspiring journalists. They allow us to learn and make mistakes on a smaller scale so that we’re as prepared as possible to enter the “real world” after college. They are vital to the journalism industry.

From Mariana Alfaro: ‘I took my first serious steps as a reporter’ at The Daily Northwestern


Name: Mariana Alfaro

College newspaper: The Daily Northwestern

Where I am now: Incoming James Reston Fellow at The New York Times

The Daily Northwestern has made me who I am as a journalist. I took my first serious steps as a reporter there, met some of my best friends in the world, made errors, learned how to fix them, and had the opportunity to write stories that opened doors in my career.
I know student newsrooms can be flawed. No student newspaper is claiming to be perfect. The Daily is not. But what I’ve found in our tiny newsroom has been a world of learning and support for my career in journalism. The Daily convinced me that journalism is what I want to do in my life, and I’ll forever be grateful to it for all the opportunities it has given me.