Student Story

Behind the Scenes: Katie Cole '22 on the Gwen Ifill/PBS NewsHour Fellowship

What were you looking for during your college search process?

I knew I wanted to be in Boston at a small school where I could develop a strong bond with my professors and peers. I wanted somewhere where I felt I could thrive. I applied to a couple of schools that I thought fit that bill, but after coming to accepted students day, my choice became clear. Simmons was the only school that immediately felt like home.

Why did you pursue a political science degree and communications degree?

I knew coming into Simmons that I wanted to pursue journalism. I was thinking about minoring in a couple different areas, including political science, and was always interested in politics, so I ended up taking tons of political science courses. After going back over the minor requirements for political science, I realized I was well on my way to a major in the subject. I love both the communications and political science departments, and the subject areas mesh well when it comes to reporting on and analyzing American systems.

Simmons was the only school that immediately felt like home.

Tell us about the process of getting the Gwen Ifill/PBS NewsHour Fellowship.

I was apprehensive about applying for the position because I wasn’t confident that I would get the fellowship. I remember texting my advisor, Erica Moura, asking her if I should even bother applying. She told me not to doubt myself, so I went for it. I applied with a resume, a personal narrative essay, and two letters of recommendation. I went through three interviews before I was offered the position. It was an incredible honor to be selected for the fellowship.

What were your responsibilities?

Every day started with the morning meeting, where the whole newsroom got together to put the show together. That was probably one of my favorite parts of the job because I loved seeing the incredible teamwork and getting the chance to pitch story ideas.

Then, I would work with a small team on pulling facts for our broadcast. We use facts as bumpers between stories, and I loved it when my facts got picked for the show because I could see in a direct way how I contributed to the show. I also worked on night production, helping transition the show from on-air to online.

What did you learn from this experience?

I learned so much about the ins and outs of broadcast news. There are so many people who work tirelessly to bring the news to us every night. I feel so lucky to have learned from some of the best in the industry.

I feel so lucky to have learned from some of the best in the industry.

What inspired you to write the Indigenous TikTok creators piece?

I came up with the pitch myself after seeing the impact of Indigenous TikTok creators on the platform. I workshopped the idea with my boss and eventually pitched it to the arts editor. The editor, Josh Barajas, was amazing — he gave me such good direction and support with the piece. I’m grateful to everyone who gave me their time for the article.

It ended up that the piece would be published on the last day of my fellowship, which felt like a lovely full-circle moment for my time at NewsHour. Then, during the afternoon of my last day, Josh messaged me, announcing that Judy Woodruff would promote my story on-air. It was beyond my wildest dreams of what I hoped for during my time at NewsHour.

As Editor in Chief of The Simmons Voice and General Manager of The Shark, why is it important to be involved in student media outlets?

I absolutely love working for student-driven media at Simmons. I have grown so much as a storyteller in my time editing for The Voice and DJing for The Shark. But, I’ve also become more connected with the community, talking to people from parts of the University I didn’t know existed or those with experiences different from my own. It has enriched my Simmons experience as a whole.

Do you have a favorite Simmons memory?

There are so many. I met some of my best friends in first-year orientation bingo. Every time I’m in the radio studio and broadcasting with my friends. All the Simmons Voice meetings. Soirees. Almost-midnight-breakfast before finals. Sitting on the res quad reading. Having rice bowls in Common Grounds with my friends. All things I’m going to miss so much when I graduate.

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