Graduating senior and magazine editor Clarissa León, 23, sets down her camera to sign the Reynolds School ethics pledge.
“I’m a print journalist, a writer,” she says, with a wry smile. “But I can’t really describe how I’m feeling. … You know how it is when you’re used to being the person doing the interview.”
León’s conducted more than a few interviews as a Sagebrush reporter, a freelance writer and editor of UNR’s student magazine, Insight. Saturday, León joins 70 graduating Reynolds School of Journalism majors.
Her dad’s flying in from Colombia, South America, for the ceremony.
“I’m scared but excited to finally be making this step,” León says.
León graduates with a dual degree in journalism and political science, and a minor in English writing.
Journalism majors heading into a competitive job market will need to be more well-rounded than ever, agree Reynolds School faculty members. They’ll need to be able to adopt changing communication technologies and remain true to journalism’s basic values of fairness and accuracy.
They’ll need to be scrappy, resilient and creative – ready to move ahead.
“We can’t be in the business of making drones,” Paul Mitchell, instructor and recruitment coordinator, says. “We have to be in the business of making leaders.”
Lynn Mosier, mother of graduating print major Jeff Mosier, says she’s confident that her son’s communication skills will serve him well in any field. Mosier, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, encourages her son’s ability to synthesize information.
“That will pay off,” Mosier says. “Though I do think his future will be different that he envisioned when he came in here.”
Matt LaBranch beams over the successes of his daughter Isabelle LaBranch, 22, a graduating senior in the public relations sequence.
“I would think in this economy, journalism would be a difficult field,” Matt LaBranch says. “You’d better be on top of your game with the world changing as quickly as it is.”
At a Friday afternoon reception for students and parents, LaBranch reminisces about his daughter’s love of writing. In a sixth grade creative writing class, Isabelle LaBranch wrote a non-fiction account of the year her family spent in Australia. Her sister illustrated the book.
“She’s always been an expressive writer,” Matt LaBranch says.
Though the future seems uncertain to students like León, she feels ready.
“The journalism school’s been helpful in preparing me,” León says. “I think I’ll be OK. The best thing about this school is that I know I can talk to the teachers any time about anything. That makes it not so scary.”