School of Communication & Journalism

What Our Graduates Have to Say

Riley Tant, AU journalism alumna

“I can without a doubt say that I would not be where I am today if it hadn't been for the knowledge and experience I gained as a journalism student at Auburn University. Never in a million years would I have thought that one day I would be living in New York and working for Real Simple. Without the support of my professors I would have never had the skills, confidence or encouragement to pursue the career of my dreams."

Riley Tant, Senior Product Manager at WebMD
and former Associate Product Manager, RealSimple.com

 

“At Auburn, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Plainsman, Eagle Eye and PACERS – which helped me understand the importance of learning all aspects of media in order to be successful in this industry. I think we learn how to be journalists through our experiences. You need a vast skill set to keep up with today’s competition, and Auburn’s journalism program takes you out of the classroom, encouraging students to get real-life experience in writing, producing and storytelling. Through my experiences, I’ve come to realize fundamentals are the key to our success as journalists, setting us apart from the average blogger. Auburn’s journalism program helped me develop a strong foundation, and learn the importance of honesty and integrity as a writer. To all the future majors, take advantage of the opportunities Auburn has to offer – you never know what doors it will open.”

Hope Holland, Producer for “Hannity,” Fox News Channel

 

“I’d say the best thing I learned from the Auburn journalism program was the importance of concise and coherent storytelling. Every story needs to catch the viewer’s attention immediately and hold it until the end of the piece — this becomes especially difficult if commercial breaks are involved. So whenever I read a script, I look for every opportunity to replace multiple words with a single word or use one sentence to convey what was written in two sentences. If you’ve done your reporting well enough you won’t need to overwrite your story to keep someone’s attention — the subject matter will do that for you. You just need to stay out of the way and tell your audience who did what where and why it matters. Working at The Plainsman was essential to my journalism education at Auburn. I’d go so far to say it’s essential for anyone who is even considering a career in journalism. Look at it this way, you can study archaeology all you want but you won’t build Jurassic Park from a computer lab; you’ve got to get boots on the ground so you can put what you’ve learned to good use. I think The Plainsman taught me the intangibles of reporting, like cold-calling a possible source or finding a creative way to work around a problem. Everyone on staff had a different strength and the collaboration that went on in the office — especially during layout days — was invaluable to my education. Looking back, I feel like whatever I learned in class was reinforced 10 times over in The Plainsman office. Plus, having maintenance shut the lights of on you at midnight will teach you to meet your deadlines.”

Maxwell Newfield, Production Assistant for Special Investigations and Documentaries, CNN

 

“I’m so thankful for the diverse education that I received at Auburn University. Though I obtained my bachelor’s degree in journalism, I gained a wealth of knowledge in the communication field as a whole. My journalism professors encouraged me to think outside the box and get involved with Eagle Eye News, The Glom, The Circle and The Plainsman. Now, in addition to writing articles for newsletters, newspapers and websites, I also film television shows, provide voice-overs for commercials and design publications on a regular basis. I truly believe this would not have been possible without my well-rounded experience in the Auburn journalism program.”

Candice Roberson, Freelance Copywriter, Designer and Videographer, Nashville, Tenn.

 

“The journalism program at Auburn gave me a solid foundation of knowledge I use daily at my job at the Des Moines Register. The program is structured to balance real experience with strong teaching and mentorship by professors who genuinely care about students’ successes. I graduated knowing how to tell a story, edit for style and with a passion for journalism. Besides working alongside fun people who loved to do the same thing, I grew as a writer, editor and person in The Plainsman office. When I first started volunteering as a staff writer my freshman year, I learned how to take a tough edit from another student. Learning to take criticism and grow from it was an invaluable lesson. The weekly edits from the journalism adviser showed me things I missed each week as Campus section editor, and I learned how to be better with each issue. Auburn was a great choice for me. It’s a large university, but the program was small enough for my professors to know me by name and to develop a strong bond with other students. When you graduate with an Auburn journalism degree, you also graduate with real-world experience under your belt to show to potential employers.”

Sarah Day Owen, Associate Online Entertainment Editor, Des Moines Register

 

“I started out as a designer for the Press-Register in Mobile and now I’m a producer at al.com. Every employer who has taken a look at my resume has been impressed that I worked at The Auburn Plainsman. It’s important to get as much professional experience as you can while you’re in college, because your boss doesn’t care what you can do in a classroom – they want to know what you can do in a newsroom. I had an amazing college experience at Auburn – and more specifically in the journalism program. In fact, when I think about Auburn, I don’t think of the university as a whole (or even the football program); I think about the journalism program. I felt close to my classmates and my professors, and I enjoyed learning how to do what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Julie Clark, Producer, al.com

 

“Auburn's widely respected journalism program helped me get a reporting job after college and taught me everything I need to know to do the job well. The rigorous courses (I'm looking at you, 1100) combined with my work at The Auburn Plainsman gave me the knowledge and experience journalists need to compete in the field's evolving landscape.”

Emily Adams, Staff Writer, The (Talladega, Ala.) Daily Home

 

"My time in the journalism program at Auburn gave me the opportunity to realize that journalism was the right field for me, which is what I think a college education should be able to accomplish. Through my connections in the program, I found the company where I had my first job out of school — the company that I still currently work for, doing double duty as an associate editor for the Shelby County Reporter and the editor of H Life magazine. Most journalism graduates I know from Auburn come out of the program with the ability to become what their publications need them to be, which is all I can ask for from the people in my newsroom — several of which join me in saying 'War Eagle!'"

Amy Gordon Jones, Associate Editor, Shelby County (Ala.) Reporter and Editor, H Life magazine

 

“I would tell a potential major to take every opportunity they can to get experience while they're at Auburn. Become an Editor on The Plainsman staff. This will give you hands on experience with deadlines, editing, design, teamwork and the process of producing a publication. Don’t sell yourself short when you are applying for internships. Apply at Rolling Stone, National Geographic, TIME, Vogue, anywhere you've dreamed of working. I knew I wanted to intern at a magazine, so I applied for every magazine internship under the sun, literally about 45 applications. I got five interviews out of my 45 applications and one of them happened to be National Geographic. All you have to do is apply, and if you don't apply you'll never know if you could have had that amazing experience. These experiences are extremely valuable when you are applying for a job. My employer told me it was my internship at National Geographic and previous publication experience I had at Auburn that held me above all of the other applicants.”

Helen Northcutt, Editorial Assistant, Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times

David Ingram, AU journalism graduate

“Journalism majors at Auburn become successful because of the program’s comprehensive outlook and adaptability beyond the Plains. It's important to think about the full scope when picking a major. Professors and faculty in the journalism program are there for their students from the first day to graduation, which makes the program stand out and retain respect. Your college experience is what you make of it, and the journalism program made it unforgettable for me.”

David Ingram, Producer at NBC's "Today" & "Early Today" and former writer for the Fox News Channel

 

“Work for The Plainsman (and not just as a part of Practicum). It was one of the most rewarding and overwhelming things I ever did at Auburn. It prepares you for the real world in a way that no class ever could. Not only does it teach you time management and team building skills that you need no matter what job you have, but you learn a little bit of every aspect of the journalism industry while working with ‘real time,’ not ‘class assignment time’ deadlines. And nowadays to be an editor (especially at smaller publications), you have to be part photographer, part writer and part layout designer. Plus, writing two or three stories a week is an easy way to build your portfolio. If you have your sights set on working for a national publication, do more than one internship and do it early. There’s no way I could have gotten and internship at a national magazine like Seventeen without interning at another magazine first.”

Mallory Boykin, Editorial Assistant, Mobile Bay Magazine

 

“My page design and photography classes play a huge role in my day-to-day work. I am constantly dealing with use of white space, design and layout for store displays, online stories and event t-shirt and promotional item designs. Although I ended up in a marketing position, and rarely get to write every day, Auburn journalism prepared me for this job in ways that I wouldn’t have expected. Each year, I’m faced with planning and activating at the same annual events and races. It’s like having to write the all too familiar annual stories year after year: holidays, anniversaries, town meetings, etc. Journalism taught me how to look at a stale story (or event) with a fresh approach and transform it to become new and intriguing. I’m constantly challenged to think outside the box when it comes to in-store displays, activities for events or building marketing stories. After spending four years learning how to approach from a different angle and drilling in our heads, less is more, I’ve transferred that approach to marketing planning.”

Ali McGuinn, Integrated Marketing, New Balance, Boston

 

Kristin Oberholzer Williams"Auburn University's journalism program lives up to the hype. You won't just sit in a cold classroom for years and leave The Plains with a degree. You'll be down at City Hall or finding sources for an assignment that is significant to you. You'll find buildings on campus you didn't know existed while shooting assignments for  Photojournalism. You'll get to flex your creative muscle while designing your own newsletter or brochure. Between the courses and days (or years) spent getting hands-on experience at The Auburn Plainsman, you'll get the best possible taste of what it means to be a journalist."

Kristin Oberholzer Williams, Copy Editor, The Decatur (Ala.) Daily / Florence (Ala.) TimesDaily

 

“A degree in journalism opens an array of future possibilities. Newspaper Fundamentals (also known as writing boot camp) expanded my editorial skills and encouraged me to write ‘vigorously and concisely.’ The Plainsman not only honed my writing, it also gave me gumption. Experience at the newspaper expands your communication skills as you are constantly interviewing people from all walks of life to share their story. The program also provides classes to expand your creativity and to learn invaluable techniques in design. And then there is the camaraderie with your fellow classmates as you learn and grow together. Studying journalism at Auburn University not only prepares you for a career in writing, it prepares you socially and professionally.”

Christian Becraft, Assistant, Special Events, Office of the President, Auburn University

 

"When I graduated from Auburn with a degree in journalism, I was fortunate enough to have three job offers, all in the journalism industry. A few months before graduation, I was worried about even having one! I attribute most of my success in finding a job to my work at The Plainsman. I had no idea at the time that those long hours I was spending in the basement of Foy (that's where The Plainsman office was located in those days) would pay off tremendously. From learning interviewing skills, to writing stories and dipping my feet into the world of design, my work at The Plainsman helped polish the bare resume of a college graduate, and ultimately, that's what landed me my first job. The class time was critical, too. The journalism professors taught me the skills I needed, and The Plainsman was hands-on experience with using those skills. I'm so thankful for the Auburn journalism program and The Plainsman-- without them, I would not have the career I have today."

— Miranda Mattheis, Editor, Alfa Journal, Alfa Insurance's internal company magazine.

 

“I began volunteering at The Plainsman during my first semester at Auburn. Looking back on my time on campus, I'm glad I did. I eventually was hired on to the sports staff and got valuable hands-on experience. I would say I learned just as much working for the student paper as I did in class. The Plainsman provides excellent opportunities for those pursuing a career in journalism.”

Wes Sinor, Sports writer, al.com

Our graduates and interns have worked for:

  • The Birmingham News
  • Sports Illustrated
  • New York Times
  • CNN (Atlanta)
  • Mobile Press-Register
  • The TODAY show
  • National Geographic
  • Montgomery Advertiser
  • Raycom Media
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • Time Warner
  • The Associated Press
  • InStyle
  • Bloomberg News
  • Texas Monthly
  • Southern Living
  • Sporting News
  • ESPN
  • The Indiana Pacers
  • St. Petersburg Times
  • Fox Chicago News
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution
  • MLB.com
  • WSB-TV/Channel 2, Atlanta
  • The Tennessean
  • Fox News (New York City)
  • Des Moines Register
  • Coastal Living
  • WHNT News 19 (Huntsville, Ala.)
  • Entertainment Tonight
  • Fox News 6 (Birmingham)
  • Houston Astros
  • Real Simple
  • Arizona Republic
  • Seventeen
  • Boston Globe
  • Glamour
  • Teen People
  • New Statesman (London)
  • GQ Magazine
  • House & Garden
  • CMT Insider
  • Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer
  • The Huntsville Times
  • NPR
  • Al.com
  • The Daily Home, Talladega
  • Food Network Magazine
  • Modern Luxury Media (Atlanta)
  • Deer & Deer Hunting magazine
  • Rome (Ga.) News Tribune
  • The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune
  • Florida Today
  • The Dothan Eagle
  • Strategic Perception (political public relations firm)
  • Time, Inc.
  • Southeastern Conference Commissioner's Office
  • The Auburn Sports Network
  • Gadsden Times
  • Rivals.com
  • Comcast SportNet
  • Selma Times-Journal
  • Alabama Magazine
  • Shelby County Reporter
  • Valley Times-News
  • Columbus (Ga.) and the Valley Magazine
  • Tuscaloosa News
  • Wiregrass Living Magazine
  • Mobile Bay Magazine
  • New Balance
  • Patch
  • BusinessWeek
  • The Savannah Morning News
  • Alexander City Outlook
  • Creative Loafing, Atlanta
  • The (Jacksonville) Times-Union
  • Anniston Star
  • The Tampa Tribune
  • Sarasota Herald-Tribune
  • Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times Magazine
  • Pensacola News Journal
  • Decatur Daily
  • New South Publishing
  • The Aiken (S.C) Standard

 

For more information

John Carvalho

John Carvalho
Associate Director of Journalism
220 Tichenor Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-4454
carvajp@auburn.edu

Last Updated: July 17, 2018