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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Alicia Quarles

Class of 2002, Bachelor's

As a television and print reporter I interview some of the world’s best-known stars.  When Madonna got flack for adopting a boy from
Malawi, I was one of the first to sit down with the pop princess to discuss the controversy.  Early on in my career I conducted a memorable
sit-down interview with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, where they dished on their love lives and working with each other. Over the years the three of us have reconvened on several occasions. Oh, and I can’t forget about another heartthrob, Johnny Depp, who gave me an exclusive interview in his private hotel suite in the Bahamas. From one-on-one interviews with Beyonce, to talking with Angelina Jolie on red carpets and in sit-down interviews, to chatting with Jay-Z about his comeback record, to writing print articles for the Associated Press about the industry’s biggest stars - when it comes to entertainment reporting, I have done it all.

Various outlets from around the globe including FOX News, BET, RTL Germany and Yahoo! rely on me for on-air commentary that is both informed and entertaining. I am also featured in the award winning Dixie Chicks documentary, “Shut Up & Sing.”

My career began at the University of Southern California. As a broadcast journalism student, I hosted a show called, “CU @ USC.” The half-hour live nightly program featured some of the biggest names in the industry. I interviewed everyone from Steven Spielberg to George Lucas as a college student.

After graduation, I accepted a position with Associated Press Television as an entertainment reporter and producer in Los Angeles. While there I covered the Grammys, Academy Awards, Billboard Awards, BET Awards and Golden Globes just to name a few. In addition, I traveled the globe conducting sit-down interviews with everyone from Robert De Niro to Morgan Freeman to Clint Eastwood. 


What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:

1. Editing (both formats) 2. Writing clear and easy to read scripts 3. Camera work.  If you know how to do everything, it makes you much more valuable when you enter the job market. It doesn’t matter if you want to be on air or behind the camera.  It is much easier to get your foot in the door if you can work in any aspect of the industry.

What were your duties at ATVN? :


How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

I was able to learn how to work well under deadlines and intense pressure.  When I was applying for my job at AP I had an advantage over the other applicants because I was able to do it all, meaning editing, on camera stand-ups, writing scripts and researching stories. My experience at ATVN was similar to a real newsroom and when I graduated, I was ready for the real world.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Learn how to do everything.  Learn how to edit on Avid as well as linear.  Learn how to be comfortable in front of the camera.  Learn how to write a script that is clear and conversational.  Take advantage of every opportunity.  I hosted a television show at USC called “CU @ USC.” During my time there, I interviewed everyone from George Lucas to Steven Spielberg.  The people I interviewed then are people I see all the time now at different entertainment events.  It is a small world.  You should always do a good job because if you do, I guarantee people will remember you and want to be interviewed by you again.

What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:

Be willing to do anything!!!!!  When I graduated I was willing to move anywhere in the world.  Luckily I got a great job in Los Angeles.  I have several friends who graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism a few years ago.  Some of them still do not have jobs, and others are not working in their field.  This is because they were not willing to move, or they didn’t want to take the job they were offered because they felt it was “not for them.” Realize there are hundreds of other people out there who are just as hungry as you are.

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