Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Jessica Pierce

Class of 2003, Bachelor's

Born and raised in Southern California. Went to USC with a strong background in theatre and writing. Fell in love with journalism. Graduated, got a job, and the rest is history… in the making.


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

People skills- there are all kinds of people out there and you have to be able to work with them.
Writing- Crucial.
Ethics and Humility.

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Writer/Shooter/Editor; Producer

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

Wow. Where do I start? It INTRODUCED me to my first job. I knew the instant I took the Producing class my senior year, that this is what I wanted to do. And it only got better from there.

Honestly, ATVN’s where I learned the basics. And then, I kept learning once I got my first job. And I probably will throughout my entire career.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

Uh oh. Words of wisdom. Well, there’s nothing profound to impart. Just some simple things- I’m still learning each and every day.  Make your mistakes in college. And more importantly, learn from them.  Writing is key no matter what position you’re in, whether it be an anchor, producer, or assignment editor. So, practice as much as you can. And take your work seriously, but have fun with it too.

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

Well, for each person it’s uniquely different but somehow oddly the same. I don’t know that there is much you can do with a very first contract. Have a lawyer or second person look it over. Make sure you can live off what they’re giving you. Let’s see… Research what people in your intended position in that market make. And if there’s something you’re not sure about, ask. You may regret it down the road.

Twitter Feed