Long-time, no talk. A lot has changed since my last School Video News blog post, which was a prompt and now, slightly cringy summary of my first semester of college at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix, Arizona.
I am now a junior, nearly three full years in, and I feel I owe you a timeline to fill in the rather extensive gap.
Right after my freshman year, I landed an internship in Chautauqua, New York, a place I had never heard of, four days before I needed to move across the country. Yes, four. But I said yes to it without a second thought, and like most things you allow to happen naturally, it was sensational. I reported for Chautauqua Institution’s official newspaper, the Chautauquan Daily, covering the interfaith lecture series. It required 1,000-2,000 word pieces every single day summarizing hour-long presentations from people I would never have heard of had I not been there. I feel sorry for a version of myself that could've lived to see that through. The work challenged and completely exhausted me, but it wasn't all-consuming. The Institution is right on the lake, and the interns live together, so the summer had its fair share of impromptu boat rides, ice cream runs, awe-inspiring sunsets and bonfires that took far too long to light for them to have been worth it. But I didn't mind. Even as a long-time broadcast fanatic, I was more than content and fulfilled seeing my byline each morning. I came to find that having any place in this profession at all is ample for me (foreshadowing, if you haven't already guessed).
Before that stint was over, I was offered an internship for the following fall semester in CNBC's long-form department in New York City. As hesitant as I was to leave the Cronkite School for an entire semester, I knew the likelihood of an opportunity like that coming again was slim to none. So, I traded my lakeside haven for the big city and saw the business from a different side. I spent all of my time behind the camera instead of in front of it — slugging and logging footage, fact-checking, hopping in black cars for tape pick-ups at B&H uptown. Regardless of how endearing it looked from the outside, New York City is tougher than anyone can adequately prepare you for. I learned a lot, and I'll never regret taking the chance, but I have to admit, it wasn't everything I had always imagined the big leagues would be for me. But that's a story for another time.
Once that chapter came to a close, I returned to Phoenix, all the while struggling with what to do next. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself in an attempt to one-up everything I had already accomplished. After a rather brutal rejection season, I ended up asking to return to Chautauqua. Thankfully, my editor gave me yet another chance. I spent the past summer covering the 10:45 a.m. lecture series, with speakers from Tarana J. Burke and Joshua Bennett to National Geographic photographers, comedic geniuses, novelists, professors, and more. I had the time of my life all over again, and honestly, I miss it all more than I can put into words (even though that is literally my job). It's local journalism in an indescribable way, but it’s good journalism, and I'm better for it.
There were small victories in the in-betweens, too. I covered a branch of March For Our Lives, watched as giants such as Judy Woodruff and Lester Holt roamed Cronkite's halls, tried out entertainment news, and thanks to School Video News, I hosted the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas two years in a row. Which brings me to this very moment. After another heart-rending goodbye to upstate New York, I decided to spend the past fall semester, focusing on school and asking myself what I'm looking for in all of this. Well, the fall semester is officially over, and I'll be honest, I still don't know. Therefore, I will spend the spring semester continuing to do a mixture of everything I know and love. Starting in January, I will be a breaking news intern for The Arizona Republic, a social justice reporter for Cronkite News and a reporter for a semester-long documentary on the youth suicide epidemic in Arizona. Through this new monthly series, I look forward to sharing what I learn from each new experience and even some reflections on the old, and I hope you'll join me for whatever might come next.
About Jamie Landers
A recent graduate of Hoover HIgh School, North Canton, Ohio, Jamie Landers is entrenched in her first year at the Cronkite School of Journalism. In addition, she is a Special Events Producer for School Video News and has anchored many of our events including the annual Ohio Education Technology Conference broadcasts and the Student Production Awards of the Ohio Valley National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. While at Hoover High School, she was involved in her school’s broadcast class, HVTV News, produced and hosted “Up to Date,” a TV11 show that stepped away from the school and community to focus on breaking down national headlines. Her time permitting, we hope to follow Jamie's journey through Cronkite and share her experiences with other aspiring broadcast journalists.
You can learn more about Jamie Landers at jamielanderslive.com and in this interview https://vimeo.com/212493726