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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Sarah Amos

Class of 2005, Bachelor's


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

Here are my top four…
Covering EVERY angle and side of a story, there is nothing worse than gathering elements and soundbites for a story and missing a key part
Being organized.  Make lists, learn to be prepared for things before a problem can even arise or your boss even asks you a question. 
Know the news, read every paper and magazine you can.  If you don’t know the what is going on in the world you are in serious trouble.
Writing, I know everyone says this, but it is true, a good writer will always be in demand. 

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Graphics, Writer, Shooter, Editor, Producer, EP

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

Pretty much everything I did at ATVN has in some way helped me at ABC.  My ability to shoot, edit, book interviews, write scripts and plan shoots all are based in the jobs and projects I was apart of at ATVN.  Understanding the importance of deadlines is so key, and working on a live broadcast at ATVN drilled that into me more than anything else in college.  ATVN gave me the confidence you need in your job and the skills to back it up. 

Everything I did at ATVN, from line producing, to shooting, to making phone calls helped me get where I am now.  Every time I worked on a show I learned a lesson and without those I would have left college clueless.

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

The best advice I can offer is to work hard, volunteer for everything and anything (no matter how small the project, hands-on experience is priceless) and have a great attitude.  Your first job isn’t going to be your dream job, but if you have a great attitude and work hard it will pay off more than you probably realize. 

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

Starting at a network as a PA there isn’t much negotiating to be done, but I can say that when deciding your first job go with your gut.  If your gut says you want to try being a reporter, or really want hands on production experience right out of school, focus on local stations.  If you aren’t the small town type, or feel you are better working up a ladder, look at larger markets and the networks.  Go with what is going to make you the happiest, not what you think is the “right” choice.

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