University of the Ozarks alumna Julie Parr told RTV students recently to take full advantage of their unique opportunities for hands-on experience while they are in college.
Julie Parr, a 2001 Ozarks communications graduate who is currently a multi-media journalist with a TV station in Shreveport, La., credited the hands-on experience she received at U of O for success in her career.
Parr, a 2001 communications graduate, visited with students in Instructor Susan Eden’s broadcast journalism class on March 5 to talk about her job as a bureau chief and multi-media mobile journalist for KTBS, Channel 3, an ABC-affiliate in Shreveport, La. Based in Texarkana, Parr covers a 13-county area that encompasses parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Parr, who earned a master’s degree in multi-media after graduating from Ozarks, said the success she’s had in her career can be partly attributed to the hands-on experience she got as a student at Ozarks working in the University’s television studio.
"I didn’t really understand or appreciate it until I got into the work place, but after talking to other people in the profession I learned that I really did have a unique experience at Ozarks," Parr said. "At Ozarks I was able to run a camera and actually work on packages as a freshmen, something that people who went to other colleges did not have the advantage of doing. Having that hands-on experience was an invaluable advantage and put me that much more ahead of others who were coming out of college."
"I would strongly recommend that all of you [students] take advantage of this wonderful program and get as much hands-on experience as possible before you graduate."
Parr talked to the RTV students about her daily responsibilities as well as how to develop and track down stories. As a multi-media mobile journalist, Parr not only develops her own stories, but often does all of the reporting, shooting and editing of the package.
"You really are a one-person show out there, so you have to hustle and be extremely flexible," she said. "You have to learn to adapt to the situation because you never know what’s going to come up. Those are basic lessons I learned at Ozarks and they are still holding true today."
Parr also told the future journalists to search for the human element of the story.
"If you can find that human element and capture the essence of it on camera, you’ve done your job," she said.
Parr said one major change she has seen in her profession in the past decade is the emergence of social media.
"It’s a big part of what we do now, even more important at times than the TV aspect," she said. "We’re constantly updating our social media sites and websites because that’s what the public wants. That wasn’t the case 10 years ago."
Topics: Communication Studies