Covering Coronavirus: Tips, best practices and programs

Introducing the Class of 2020: Brittany Pichler

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: Brittany Pichler

School: Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Location: San Antonio, TX

Student media: The Mesquite

Journalism hero: Anderson Cooper

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

Pichler: During my time as the assistant editor at The Mesquite, and [with] my most recent promotion to managing editor, I’ve learned the importance of not just sharing the news but sharing stories from those that don’t always have a voice. Being a storyteller is such a crucial part of journalism that I think is sometimes forgotten.

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

Pichler: From my time on The Mesquite, I’ve learned to be a better writer, reporter and team player. Journalism is quite the skill and it’s one that you must always work to sharpen. You can always be better in the field. Learning to take the advice and edits from your peers is what has made me better. Realizing that it’s not just you making yourself better at your craft but those around you pushing you to be. I wouldn’t be where I am without my team.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Pichler: Other than being on such an amazing team at The Mesquite, my favorite moment (and quite possibly my most challenging) was writing a profile on a sex trafficking survivor. She spoke at our university and I was too sick to attend. However, I took the profile over and received a recording of her full speech. I took a few hours to transcribe the whole thing so I could really get myself in tune with her story. I ended up listening to it at least 20 times and even had the opportunity to have a phone conversation with her. To be able to tell her story and work to make it to where she would feel justified was such a feat. After it was published, she texted me and said the profile made her cry and that it was the most amazing piece she had read about her. To hear that was something that made my heart soar and a moment I’ll never forget.

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

Pichler: I took it upon myself to write a review on the Netflix show, “Tiger King.” The Mesquite has a column called “The Interest” where we write reviews on all sorts of things. During the quarantine, like many others, I became fascinated with the new show and all the chaos within it. Writing the review was a bit wacky as the show is itself. Trying not to include spoilers but at the same time trying to explain what it was about was so hard! But in the end, it’s a review I’m incredibly proud of.

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Pichler: Like many journalists, I want to be a successful writer and work for some of the best publications and news outlets in the world. However, I want to take my experience and knowledge to become a journalism professor. I want to do the same for students as mine have done for me. If it weren’t for my professors guiding me and advising me, I would never have been on The Mesquite in the first place; I wouldn’t have had the confidence. There’s so many people with such talents and I want to be a part of them, to shape, guide and build them up. I want to make a difference in more than just my life.

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

Pichler: Anderson Cooper. He’s an icon. He’s a fantastic journalist and reporter. I’m so intrigued by his confidence which as a reporter, is such a key to being successful. I’d want to know how he handles such stories as the Orlando nightclub shootings or controversial politics. Consistently, Cooper delivers such hard-hitting stories and very rarely do you see him crack. I want to know how he does it.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Pichler: I want potential employers to know that I always strive to produce the best and stay true to my goals. I remember my first day on The Mesquite, I came in and said I wanted to write 20 stories during the semester. Everyone looked at me as if I was crazy and over ambitious. While writing this, I’m at 17 stories, with my next one already planned and in the works. When I receive a goal or project, I follow it through with all my heart. My determination is quite unshakable. In addition to my work, I’m always willing to take on more and help my team with whatever they need. As a team player, I think it’s important to work to make the team the best and work on things even though it may not be your duty.

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

Pichler: When I’m not a journalist, I’m a creative writer at heart. I love working on my own screenplays and novels. You could say being a storyteller is in my blood. When I’m not writing, you can find me at a rock concert or binge watching shows on Netflix.

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