The CQS program unlocked a scholar’s passion

by Tiffany Williams

In 2010, I’d just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and was headed to graduate school in the fall. Although I would soon start my journey toward a master’s degree in journalism, I was questioning whether it was the right field for me. Would I be good enough? Should I concentrate on copy editing or multimedia? Could I really work in this profession for the rest of my life?

Little did I know, participating in the 2010 Chips Quinn Scholars program would soon help me answer these questions.

While interning at the The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey I was assigned to the copy desk. I had completed one copy editing internship and was copy desk chief for my college newspaper. Naturally, I thought a career in copy editing would come next.

However, the previous summer I participated in the Freedom Forum’s Diversity Institute Multimedia Scholars, where I was introduced to incredible new avenues of journalism. I learned to shoot and edit video, take photos and capture and edit audio. I produced real multimedia pieces. And I loved it.

I wanted to use my CQS experience to see if I should stick with copy editing or move on to multimedia. Thankfully, during my internship, and not my first job, I discovered copy editing was no longer for me.

I still love copy editing. I love coming up with catchy headlines and making them fit within seemingly impossible character space limits. I love getting paid to read. And more than anything, I love always being informed and learning new things about the world every day. Copy editing is how I was introduced to the field of journalism. But multimedia stole my heart.

I’m thankful for my time at The Press. After only three days of training I was thrown into the hustle and bustle of a newsroom and learned to think on my feet. I observed the ins and outs of a fast-moving newsroom. I polished my skills, becoming a better paginator and headline-writer. I challenged myself to keep moving forward even when I made mistakes – which seemed to occur more times than I’d like to admit. My boss let me venture out and complete some multimedia pieces. I lived in Atlantic City, where there’s never a dull moment, just a few feet away from the beach. I couldn’t have asked for a better summer.

I learned so much not only about journalism, but also about myself. With those few short days of training, I discovered I wasn’t a child anymore, and, if this were a permanent job, no one would have been there to hold my hand.

I also realized my true passion – something some people wait years to discover. I found that journalism is right for me, just a different aspect of it. To say the CQS program influenced my life would be an understatement. This program gave me the answers I needed to start my life as a multimedia journalist.

Tiffany Williams is a graduate student at Michigan State University.


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