“I never thought I would land a dream job in a pandemic,” said Kristin Wells, a University of Tulsa alumna who is now a digital content producer at News on 6, a major news station in Tulsa. A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Wells graduated from TU in May 2020 with a double major in media studies and Spanish. “I never expected to work at a TV station and I do not have a strong background in TV production. But I have always loved storytelling; so, here I am, and I love it!”
The first chapter of Wells’ media career has been eventful, to say the least. Her first day of work was also the first day many of her newsroom coworkers were allowed back into the newsroom because of COVID-19. A week later, she found herself helping to live stream in person the Trump Rally in Tulsa, a major national news event. Wells enjoyed being part of the news team that covered the rally with accuracy, some urgency and fully prepared should there have been an emergency. “There I was, on the second week of my job, covering a historical and surreal event and thrilled to be in the thick of it,” Wells remarked.
Working during the pandemic has not been without some challenges; for example, Wells still has not met her direct supervisor, who works out of Oklahoma City. Still, these hurdles have also created what she called “a sense of community in the newsroom. We are all in it together. The news, especially in times of pandemics, is essential: we see our value as a news team because of all of the uncertainty. The news must keep going.”
From the classroom to the newsroom
Wells credits her media studies education for giving her the training necessary to succeed in her current position. As a digital content producer, every day she translates, repackages, cuts video, writes scripts for, frames, posts and manages the news for a range of digital audiences on News on 6’s website, app and social media posts, which are updated every 20 minutes. This also means she deals with all forms of news content: breaking news, CBS affiliate news stories, crime stories, political coverage, sport stories, human interest stories and the weather.
Wells’ media studies training and involvement in TU’s Global Scholars program also developed her broad generalist understanding and fascination with all content across the news cycle. “My media studies courses prepared me to adapt and to be open to all these new things. Media studies offers such a wide range of courses and topics, such as food media, digital media, global media and journalism. As a student, I had to move from one class to another, flexing and bending to translate across diverse stories into final projects. I do similar things in the newsroom now, except I bring those stories, without clickbait, to many different digital audiences. Plus, I love my interactions with other TU media studies alumni who work in my company.”
Asked whether she has any advice for current and future media studies students, Wells emphasized the value of seeking out and developing many career interests. She continued: “It’s also exciting to get involved in TUTV Media Lab and The Collegian (TU’s student newspaper), and to enjoy your own exciting – and even uncertain – ride into the world of media.”
Do you have a story to share about your experiences after graduation? If so, reach out to Media Studies Chair Benjamin Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.