Ashley Johnson Tech Talk Credit: Yolanda Chen , Yolanda Chen

During a discussion hosted by College House Computing in their ‘Tech Talks’ series, 2007 College graduate Ashley spoke yesterday evening in Harrison College House. She shared her experiences as a broadcast reporter for PHL 17’s Eye Opener News, and her tips for making it in journalism:

1. Have a variety of interests 

“Having a liberal arts background is what I would tell anyone made me such a well-rounded person.”

“There are so many topics that can be convoluted, so if you have basis and an understanding it will help you break it down so that everyone in the world can understand.”

2.Wear many hats

“There are days, especially when you’re a one-man band, when you’re writing and shooting and editing and cutting the package right up to the last minute.”

“People would be like, 'Where’s your camera guy?' 'Oh, I’m right here.' 'But wait, where’s the reporter?' and I’d be like, ‘oh I’m right here!’”

Johnson also double-checks what the anchors say to introduce her stories, “I don’t mind if you change it to use your own wording — but don’t make it inaccurate.”

3.Go for it and commit

“If you want journalism and that’s your passion, go for your passion.” Johnson said, “To do this job, you have to envision that you could never do anything else.”

“If you only want it because you want to be on TV, there are so many more glamorous jobs.”

“Sometimes when I first started, I’d be that shy reporter.” However, she said to her shy self, “No, ask that question as many times as you need to.”

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4. Stay on your game

“You never know when people are looking at you.”

“It’s better to be in a small market and make your mistakes.” 

“Wherever life takes you, you can make the most of it.”

5. Be resilient

“Whatever you do — when you’re arguing something you need to make sure that you present your facts in a clear and accurate way.”

“I’d come in and I’d have some great ideas and my boss would be like ‘No.’”

“I think that in this business there are some things you cannot control and I’ve been on interviews and they didn’t really care that I went to [Penn]. “You will be someone’s cup of tea and other people — they don’t want anything to do with you.”

6. Use social media to your advantage

“If you are on social media you make yourself stand out.”

“If you can build an audience that looks great to another station, [they will think] ‘how does she have 15,000 viewers?’— that’s money.”

Related: Penn alumna makes a name for herself in journalism

7. Become an expert in a field

“More stations are starting to hire beat reporters.” “You should be the first to know. You’re the name, you’re the face.”

“Everyone’s track is so different, there is no right way or a wrong way.” She noted that the more versatile you make yourself, the more you are able to pick and choose what you are most interested in reporting.

8.Stay sane

“For me, it’s keeping a humorous spirit."

“Everyday, I never know what’s going to happen I can think I’m doing something and I can have the greatest idea and then something really crazy happens…something always happen and it keeps you on your toes.”  


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