Department of Journalism College of Communication and Fine Arts
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Advertising | Broadcasting | Internet Journalism | Newspaper/Magazine | Public Relations

Advertising Major | Index

Mary Jo Green
What year did you graduate?
2001
Where and what are you doing now?
Overseeing all communications and advertising at Hope Presbyterian Church (Cordova, TN)
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
It prepared me quite well for what I daily face at Hope.
What is your current job title?
Communications Coordinator
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
I couldn't have a better job. I much rather promote God and the church rather than any other product!

Broadcasting Major | Index

Ben Roe
What year did you graduate?
B.A in 1997 and M.A in 2001
Where and what are you doing now?
I am the Chief of Internal information at Yokota Air Base Japan and a Captain in the United States Air Force
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
I absolutely enjoyed undergrad and grad school at UofM. I was very fortunate to have a great group of classmates and instructors (with just a couple of exceptions)
What is your current job title?
Chief of Internal Information
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
It definitely prepared me for my work in TV news (WMC from 97-99 and WPTY 99) and my current work in the Air Force

Internet Journalism Major | Index

Laura Cochran
What year did you graduate?
May 2005 with Master Degree
Where and what are you doing now?
I work at WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI/Washingtonpost.com) in Arlington, VA.
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
My experiences with the professors and undergraduate students were very inspiring. The career changes I've experienced because of the opportunities I took full advantage of have been amazing. Life is what you can make of it!
What is your current job title?
Metro, Health, Education Producer
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
I love it! Expanding your career into online journalism is an excellent idea. More and more each day print journalists are looking up to the ever-changing opportunities offered online.

Newspaper/Magazine Major | Index

1. Leslie Jason Smith
What year did you graduate?
2002
Where and what are you doing now?
A sports writer for The Commercial Appeal (newspaper)
What did you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
I couldn't have asked for a more thorough undergraduate education than the one I received from the journalism department at The University of Memphis. When I entered the program in 1999, I'd intended on going into television broadcasting, but my successes in an undergraduate news writing class convinced me my future was in print journalism. My undergraduate experience also included three years with the school's independent newspaper, "The Daily Helmsman," which I've called the springboard to my career. In my duties there as a news writer, then sports writer, then sports editor, then editor-in-chief, I learned the in's and out's and the do's and don'ts of print journalism. It was an invaluable experience."
What is your current job title?
Sports Writer
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world, getting to write about sports and talk to high-school kids and get paid for it. I love telling their stories, meaning I love what I do. Quite frankly, it doesn't get better than that.

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2. Angie Craig
What year did you graduate?
1994
Where and what are you doing now?
Responsibility for Corporate Relations, cardiac devices company, St. Jude Medical.
What did you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
It was great training for the real world. Being editor of The Daily Helmsman is still the hardest job I've ever had.
What is your current job title?
Vice President, Corporate Relations. In this responsibility, I oversee management of Corporate Communications, Public Relations, Investor Relations and Government Affairs.
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
Having previously been a reporter, it gives me a huge advantage. Plus, they (media) appreciate that I don't want to waste their time or mine on useless stories.

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3. Niki King
What year did they graduate?
2002
Where and what are they doing now?
I was just hired to cover Montgomery County for The Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Va.
What did they think of their undergraduate or graduate experience?
My undergraduate experience was invaluable. Everything I needed to succeed
was available at The University of Memphis. I had smart, informed advising
and helpful internships. My professors prepared me well for the real
challenges of the workaday world.
What is your current job title?
I'm a newspaper reporter.
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
Before I was hired at The Roanoke Times, I worked for two years at The
Kitsap Sun, a 35,000 circulation Scripps daily in Bremerton, Wash. It was a
great first job that allowed me to develop a diverse portfolio. As a
transportation and county news reporter I wrote breaking news and projects.
Later, as a features reporter, I produced longer, in-depth narrative
features and weekend centerpieces on health, food, style and trends.

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4. Michael Thompson
What year did you graduate?
1994
Where and what are you doing now?
Working in Ann Arbor, Mich., as the news editor of The Ann Arbor News.
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
Excellent. A liberal arts education is a good foundation for a journalism career, and the university's journalism professors helped focus that background. The Daily Helmsman was a wonderful place to put the classroom experiences into practice.
What is your current job title?
News editor.
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
The work is important; it's part of democracy in action. And it is a warm feeling to help the newspaper have a daily conversation with its readers. The newspaper industry is under a great deal of economic pressure. It is sobering. Journalists must protect their original mission while the industry changes, and they need to help the industry change for its own good and that of the community.

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5. James Overstreet
What year did you graduate?
August, 1992
Where and what are you doing now?
Memphis, The Commercial Appeal. I manage the Business Section of the newspaper.
What do you think of their undergraduate or graduate experience?
There's no way to overestimate the value of my undergraduate experience at the University of Memphis. It was at the U of M Journalism Department that I learned the skills and honed the talents that proved necessary to be successful in the business of newspaper journalism. Not only was the coursework instrumental but my experience at The Daily Helmsman really enabled me to take advantage of opportunities. From covering cops and crime for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., to weekly business reporting at American City Business Journals in Charlotte, N.C., and back to daily news reporting at The Commercial Appeal, my U of M undergraduate experience laid the foundation for my career.
What is your current job title?
Business Editor
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
These are turbulent times for newspapers. Circulation and readership are alarmingly low; advertising is sluggish; resources (financial and human) are being squeezed; competition - particularly from new media (Web sites, blogs, etc.) - is fierce. Our industry is in a period of "disruptive change" and it is very unclear how we are going to reinvent ourselves. All of those things make it a very exciting time to be a print journalist. And it is an important time - the future of newspapers is going to be determined during the next couple of decades.

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6. Tara Milligan
What year did you graduate?
1995 for undergrad and 1997 for grad
Where and what are you doing now?
I am the sections editor for Memphis Business Journal. I was hired in 2001 as a reporter and was named sections editor in 2003. I work with our reporters and editors to plan, assign stories for and edit our weekly Emphasis section as well as special publications. I also oversee the daily breaking news we post on our Web site.
What do you think of their undergraduate or graduate experience?
I had different experiences as an undergrad and then graduate student, but both were wonderful periods of my life. I was undeclared but leaning toward an English major during my freshman year. I took an intro to news writing course and received an F on my first story. Up until that moment no teacher had ever given me an F on anything I had written. But at the end of the semester, the professor put an application for The Daily Helmsman in my hand and told me she wanted me on the staff. I think I was too scared of the professor to say no. After a semester at The Helmsman, I was officially a journalism major. The classes and work opened up a whole new world to me. I absolutely loved every minute of it. I thought the professors were top-notch, and I really appreciated the experience they brought into the classroom. I felt challenged by the work and proud to be entering the field of journalism.
The grad program really appealed to the researcher in me. I loved the classes and appreciated the opportunity to explore the theoretical side of communication.
Overall, I felt that I was part of a small family while I was in college, and that was because of the staff and faculty in Meeman. I had several wonderful mentors. I knew these people were looking out for me and still do. I trusted and followed their advice, and because of that I've progressed in my career.
What is your current job title?
Section editor.
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
I think I've had a diverse career. I've worked at mostly small newspapers, but they've been very different. One was a small-town publication where I would cover a baby pageant in the morning and a city council meeting at night. I was reporter, photographer and page designer all rolled into one. Another was a monthly high school newspaper, and my staff was made up of teenagers. In addition to being the editor, I was a de facto high school guidance counselor and mentor. My current newspaper is a weekly business publication. I went from trying to keep up with the latest teen slang to deciphering business jargon from guys in suits. It makes my head spin thinking about it. I've left each job more knowledgeable about the world and my profession than when I started. And that's why I'm still in love with journalism.

Public Relations Major | Index

1. Courtney Kiggins
What year did they graduate?
May 1999
Where and what are you doing now?
Recently accepted a Project Manager position in the Corporate Recruiting department at First Tennessee in Memphis, Tenn. Previously, I was in the Employee Communications and Development area at First Tennessee.
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
My undergraduate studies at the University of Memphis gave me all the preparation I needed to jump right into my first career opportunity. I actually graduated on Friday and started my job on Monday morning. The U or M helped me gain successful internships outside of the classroom that supplemented my education and gave me "real world" experiences.
What is your current job title?
Corporate Recruiting---- Project Manager
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
No surprises. The U or M prepared me for most experiences I've had in the field.

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2. Molly Ebach
What year did they graduate?
2001
Where and what are they doing now?
I am still in Memphis working as a PR freelancer and working on growing a small business.
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
My undergraduate experience was absolutely invaluable. I learned so much about the business (and life!) through my professors, my classes, my time in PRSSA and my internships.
What is your current job title?
Hmmm-Independent News Monitor, Freelance Writer and Contract Project Coordinator
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
I feel so fortunate to be in the "job" I am in now. I love the flexibility, and working from home during this stage of my life has been an absolute blessing.

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3. Shelley Thomas
What year did they graduate?
Graduated with a BA/Communications (minored in Journalism) in 1997. Currently in a MS/Health Promotion program (currently on break due to pregnancy)
Where and what are you doing now?
Currently with a new venture, Harbor of Health, managing a wellness center. This includes many start up facets, combining my past marketing/communications/public relations experience with my most recent learned skills of health promotion.
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
I think everyone should start with a communications degree because it is essential in everything else you do. You have to be able to communicate. Times have changed and no longer will just an undergraduate degree suffice. I was very active during my undergraduate years and therefore had a wonderful, productive, and practical experience. My graduate experience is moving a little slow as life's other responsibilities/focus is taking priority. I will get it done, but it's not as easy.
What is your current job title?
Wellness Center Manager
What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
If not for my past journalism experiences, I would not have been able to market myself so rounded and therefore would likely not have landed the position I have now since I did not have the wellness experience. No matter what you do, if you can communicate and write about it - you help the overall goals of an organization and that is always desired. The more you can help them communicate and market who and what they are, the more of an asset you become. It is something that sounds so easy, yet is so hard for many other people without the experience.

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4. Therese Pramick
What year did you graduate?
May 2003 - BA in Journalism with a concentration in PR
Where and what are you doing now?
I live in Manassas, Va. and work as a Communications Specialist at Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC).
I do mostly employee communications; produce a monthly employee newsletter, maintain Intranet & Internet, and contribute to other external publications as needed.
What do you think of your undergraduate or graduate experience?
I am thankful for the wonderful experiences I had as an undergrad at U of M. The interactive and motivating environment within the Journalism Department ensures that students grow professionally as well as academically.
What is your current job title?
Communications Specialistv What do you think of your current journalism job experiences?
I enjoy the variety and challenges of my job--I get to be creative through writing and I get to go out in the field and interact with our crews. It's especially fulfilling when I get positive feedback on some of the communications changes I've initiated internally.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12