Student Perspectives: Media Dreams, The BrushUp & Beyond
By: Walanya Vongsvirates
For as long as I can remember, I’ve known what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be the next Oprah.
Laugh if you will, but it’s true. I know those are some big shoes to fill, but I’m confident that I have enough determination, passion, and drive to make it happen.
More importantly, I know I can turn my dreams into a reality because of the preparation I’ve received from the Reynolds School of Journalism. This isn’t some kind of PR move for the school; these are true sentiments that come from my heart.
The RSJ has given me many things that go far beyond your typical learning experience in a classroom. I’ve gained hands on experience, I’ve created bonds with my professors who became mentors and friends, and I’ve come across some incredible opportunities.
I’ve had so much room to grow as a journalist and simply as a person here. I came to this school not knowing a single thing about video, I could barely use a tripod. (Okay, I didn’t know you had to use a tripod as a freshman).
Now I can say that I did the Disney College Program, I was part of the NPR Next Generation radio boot camp, I interned at channel 13 in Las Vegas, I have a radio show on Wolf Pack Radio, I was a JFIT mentor, I work at KNPB, and now I’m anchoring for the Brush Up.
My Brush Up Experience
The Brush Up is a special project for me.
It’s really new and we’re still figuring out our identity as a show, but it’s truly a blessing to have an outlet that allows us to express our creative freedom beyond what traditional journalism is. The Brush Up has been a great learning experience for me, and I think everyone involved this semester.
In a few short weeks I’ve already written the script for several shows, I’ve anchored, and I’ve produced segments about a team trip to the haunted Virginia City and another about Diplo’s Homecoming concert. Our Halloween episode is nearing one thousand views. The show is definitely progressing and I think others are taking notice.
The Reynolds School of Journalism has given me so much; The Brush Up is something I’m a part of to give back to the RSJ. I want to develop this club into something that will continue long after I graduate. The Brush Up provides students with an outlet to create original content and have full control over their vision and creativity.
It truly allows students like myself to gain experience beyond the classroom and I think it’s important to take the initiative and work on projects for more than a grade, but to learn and grow as a journalist and as creative communicators.
Exploring and Evolving
I think a common theme we’ve all seen in journalism is that it is constantly evolving. By having the Brush Up, students are allowed to express their creativity and improve their skills while exploring where they fit into that evolution.
I invite everyone to get involved in the Brush Up because it a place where you can grow as a journalist and exercise your creative freedom that you might not be able to in a classroom. The only way to figure out what the next big thing in journalism is going to be is by exploring and experimenting, and the Brush Up allows you to do so.
Even Oprah had to start somewhere before she got her big break in television, and I think The Brush Up is my start to a long and fulfilling journey.
I’m not exactly sure when I will achieve my Oprah status, but you can bet that I’m going to make it happen. Waking Up with Walanya, coming to a TV near you… but until then, you can catch me on The Brush Up.