Covering Coronavirus: Tips, best practices and programs

Introducing the Class of 2020: Addison Kliewer

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students who graduated from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market. We hope they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here, who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Addison Kliewer

School: University of Oklahoma

Location: Norman, OK

Student media: Congressional reporter, Gaylord News; campus correspondent, Her Campus OU

Leadership: President, OU’s chapter of the Native American Journalists Association; secretary, OU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; member, OU President’s Leadership Class

What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?

Kliewer: Over the last four years at OU, I have learned how to be a better storyteller, co-worker and person. My college provided me with opportunities to work as a real, professional reporter, and I was never made to feel like I was unable to do something simply because I was a student. 

Working in student media brought me to Washington, D.C., where I was able to work as a congressional reporter along with two other OU students. During the fall semester of 2019, we were the only congressional reporters working for an Oklahoma outlet on Capitol Hill at the time. Being a part of this program, which is called Gaylord News, taught me not only how to write stories that are important, but how to write them in a way that would make the people back home care. I spoke to senators and politicians nearly daily, and I learned how to ask important people hard questions. I was even able to be a member of the National Press Club during this time, thanks to my professor Gil Klein, and I met some of the most amazing people and attended eye-opening events! 

Student media also took me on the campaign trail, where I was able to cover the 2020 Iowa caucus and Super Tuesday from California. These experiences truly taught me everything I know, and I will always remember the lessons I gained from it.

What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?

Kliewer: Last summer, I was a news intern for NBC News in New York. I worked on the MSNBC show “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” This was the first time I was exposed to the broadcast world of journalism. Working as primarily a print reporter, I had never worked on a broadcast show. However, throughout the summer I anchor- produced many episodes of the show, and I learned how to report for broadcast mediums, as well. I was able to learn from some of the best in the industry about all elements of broadcast news. When I was not in the studio, I was in the control room learning even more behind-the-scenes skills. This internship taught me how to work in a newsroom, as well as collaborate with others in order to put a show together. Moving from Oklahoma to New York alone, I also learned a lot about myself, and this growth would not have been possible without this internship. It was an experience of a lifetime.

Prior to this, I worked as an intern for a local radio station in Altus, Oklahoma. As the only news reporter at the station, I was responsible for writing and publishing five news stories a week. This experience taught me how to work independently and develop relationships with members in the community. 

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Kliewer: This is tough. My absolute favorite moment was probably in Iowa, a few days before the 2020 caucuses. During a press gaggle following an event, I was able to ask former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg a question about rural hospital closures in the Midwest. After the gaggle, Jennifer Palmieri approached me and told me she was encouraged to see a reporter ask him a question that actually mattered. That statement, coming from such a prominent person in the media, let me know that I was doing something right. After the stress of caucus week, her compliment allowed me to take a breath and give credit to myself for doing the work that I do.

What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on? 

Kliewer: When I lived in Washington, D.C., my co-workers and I decided to visit Oklahoma Avenue, one of the 50 state-named avenues in the city. We had never heard anything about it before or even known anyone from Oklahoma who had visited it. We decided to write a story about it and the people we met there, and it is still one of my favorite days.

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Kliewer: I have always told myself that, no matter what I end up doing, I want to make a difference. As cliché as the saying is, I truly do want to be a voice for the voiceless. I know that not all stories will impact everyone, but every story can impact someone. I want to be able to look back on my career and be proud of the work I did and the stories I told. The type of stories I write will change over my career, and my beat will likely be different throughout time. But, when I look back, I want to know that the work I did was more than putting words on paper.

If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?

Kliewer: If I could rewind time, I would love to meet Marie Colvin. I would want to ask her how she made people care the way that she did. She was one of the bravest journalists of our time, and I would want to ask her how she always put the story first, even when that meant she may be in danger. Reading her words, she truly had a gift. I would love to learn how her passion started.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Kliewer: I want potential employers to know that I am very driven. Although I am just now entering the job market, I have experience that I know has prepared me to be a well-rounded reporter in the industry. What I do not know, I am quick and eager to learn. I want employers to know that I am not only passionate about this industry, but I am passionate about people. I want to tell the stories of others, not to gain a byline, but to do something that matters. I love to work with others, but I am also independent and a leader when a task requires it. I can adapt to different environments, and I am committed to being the best, most accurate reporter I can be.

When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?

Kliewer: In my free time, I love to ride horses. I grew up showing American Quarter Horses, and that remains a large part of my life. I love to hang out with friends, family and my sweet Australian Shepherd, Mylo. Additionally, I am involved in many clubs, such as the Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Her Campus OU, and I am a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.

If you’re a recent graduate who studied journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for members of the Class of 2020 to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students.


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