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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Nick Valencia

Class of 2005, Bachelor's

I graduated Annenberg in 2005 and it’s been a wild ride since. After graduating I packed my belongings in a car and camped my way across the country, eventually landing in Minnesota where I worked several blue-collar jobs.

I found my way back to Los Angeles a few months later, and after a brief stint working for a political think-tank, I accepted an entry-level job with CNN in February 2006. I was promoted a few months after that, and I’m now an AP and contributing reporter for CNN International.

In October 2006 I spent one month traveling in Uganda by myself, shooting stories as a one-man band. Most recently I infiltrated a Northeast LA gang and wrote a small series on my experience. More adventures are forthcoming.

This is all to say, I do in my heart of hearts believe journalism is a calling, and those meant to do this can never escape it.

For now, I’m happy living in Atlanta. I love my job. I love my life, and I love helping people succeed.

Feel free to contact me.


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

1) Patience
2) Persistence
3) Passion
If you don’t have these things, perhaps journalism is not for you…

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Anchor, reporter, producer, camera operator, graphics artist, writer and editor.

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

I have all the love in the world for ATVN. It’s where I manicured my journalistic character and gained the confidence to compete in this challenging field.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

First, you can never judge yourself against your neighbor because we are all on our own beautiful specific paths in life. What I’ve learned is that some get their opportunities right out of school. Some don’t. I’m fortunate to say I didn’t have to wait that long, although seeing those around me get jobs before me was tough, especially considering how much of an effort I felt I had put into our field. So it goes.

Second, maintain your dignity, even through challenge. More importantly, know that everything happens for a reason so, when you think you’re at the lowest point in trying to find a job take a second to appreciate where you are--afterall, having a BA from the #1 broadcast school in the country is a step in the right direction.

Third, be someone of principle rather than circumstance. Keep trying to find work, and when the timing is right you will get your big break. It’s a long tedious process finding a job and I’m just glad I got noticed early. Hopefully in time you will get noticed as well, and if it’s not your DREAM JOB that scoops you up then perhaps it’ll be somewhere you’ll be even more useful and therein happier.

Cheers to your endeavors and the best of luck to you.

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

You’re in NO position to negotiate. It’s part of our egocentrism to think that we can have a say in the salary we’re offered or the city we work in. You don’t, and if you think you do, you’ll get humbled really quick. News organizations don’t need any more egos, anchors take care of that already. Go in ready to learn and appraoch the job with open mindedness.

Any other comments?:

Traveling and getting outside of my comfort zone. If you have the opportunity, take a semester to study abroad. Not only will you gain perspective on your life, but no one can EVER take away the life experience you will gain.

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