The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students graduating 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: Anna Ta
School: Rice University
Location: Houston, Texas
Managing Editor: The Rice Thresher
Fellow: Woodson Research Center
What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?
In the process of my time at the Thresher, I went from copy editing and writing my first story (in the A&E section), to assistant news editor (essentially just the student government beat writer), to the news editor, and finally the managing editor. First and foremost, I learned how to craft a story beginning to end, from having the idea to editing the final draft. Most importantly, I learned how to write empathetic stories about difficult topics, from sexual assault to legal disputes to unionization.
What’s been your best moment in journalism?
This last fall, my editor Christina and I took on a project to highlight the voices of sexual assault survivors on campus. I had undertaken a similar journey before, but that time it was an in-depth news piece looking at the reporting structures in place for sexual assault. For that article a year before, I had put out a google form asking for students who were interested in talking to me for the story. It received one reply. This time, we took a different approach and offered varying degrees of anonymity completely based on the interviewees’ own comfort level. We received 58 responses. I believe that we created trust between ourselves and the student body, and I believe that we used that trust well, to amplify the silenced voices of survivors across campus. In publishing the piece, we painted a portrait of what everyday sexual assault looks like – not in dark alleys or between complete strangers, but widespread and widely ranging.
What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on?
Two community DJ’s (not students) quit KTRU, our campus radio station, after a dispute between KTRU management and well-established Houston rapper Joseph McVey, whose stage name is Z-Ro, and Charles Adams, who co-hosts a radio show with McVey called “Big Angry & Z-Ro.” Student DJ’s were concerned about comments Z-Ro allegedly made about a domestic assault charge against him and threatened to quit if his interview aired. However, Z-Ro and Big Angry were not informed of this until they showed up for the interview in question. Accusations of misogyny and racism flew around the room, and Big Angry indeed got big angry.
What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?
I want to cover cool stories of communities who wouldn’t otherwise have a voice. I would love to work in local news and have the opportunity to tell interesting, empathetic stories about the people who make up the community and the issues that affect them.
What do you want potential employers to know about you?
I work really hard and have done work in basically every section of the newspaper; partially because I believe you have to in order to get an idea of what makes a good paper good and partially because it all interests me.
When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?
Sitting in the sun with a book (and preferably a coffee).
If you’re a senior studying journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for students to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students.