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Introducing the Class of 2020: Frankie McLister, with a cameo from GMA’s Robin Roberts

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, in hopes they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here, who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Frankie McLister

School: Arizona State University – Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication 

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Resume: Borderlands reporter, Cronkite Noticias contributor, Christine K. Wilkinson Scholar, Co-President Cronkite School’s SPJ Chapter

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

McLister: I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine … I have been taught how to ask good questions, present information on camera correctly, how to dress well, what makes a good story, I could go on and on. It’s truly a broad range at the Cronkite School.

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

McLister: From my internship experiences, I’ve definitely learned what positions interest me in the media field and what positions don’t. From my very first internship (WJLA-TV), I learned how to network and act professionally in a news station. When I interned at the TODAY Show, I learned all about what it takes to run an extremely successful national morning show.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

McLister: My best moment in journalism had to be when I traveled to El Paso, Texas to cover the re-opening of Walmart store #2201 (home of a mass shooting in August 2019). It was humbling to be able to give a voice to the strong, resilient citizens of El Paso.

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

McLister: I want to be able to truly make a difference in the world by giving a voice to the voiceless. I want to tell stories internationally and be the one that makes Americans aware of stories happening all across the planet.

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

McLister: If I could meet any journalist, I’d love to meet Robin Roberts. She’s overcome health issues and still wakes America up with a smile every day. How do you keep going, Robin? How do you come off so “down-to-earth” on air?

Robin Roberts, ABC News

Robin Roberts responds: How do I keep going? My dear mother taught me that everyone’s got something and not to compare my despair with anyone else’s. Also I learned that optimism is just like a muscle that gets stronger with use. Early in life I made it a habit to be optimistic.

How do I come off so “down-to-earth” on air? First of all thank you! What you see is what you get. I’m no different in person than on the air. Treat people with respect, show a genuine interest in them, be your authentic self and be of service to others. 

Blessings, Frankie McLister, I wish you all the best. Remember when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

McLister: I want potential employers to know that although I am a hard worker, going the extra mile to be kind is just as important to me. This career has been a dream of mine since a young age and no matter what, I always believe it’s important to pay it forward.

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

McLister: I like to spend my time with friends and family. Relationships are incredibly special to me. In addition, you can find me traveling quite often! Usually, this is with a friend or family member!

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.