Passion for Journalism: Emily Hill ’14
Pensacola Catholic High School grad Emily Hill says she was initially drawn to Spring Hill for the school’s great reputation and stellar biology and nursing programs, but after spending less than a month immersed in science classes, the Robertsdale, Ala., freshman decided that she needed to re-evaluate her career plans, and quickly.
“I realized that while I really liked science, it wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Two weeks into my first semester, I changed all of my classes around,” she says. “Going forward, I had the most fun with English and writing coursework. My sophomore year, I began an internship at the campus newspaper. Working for the Springhillian really kick-started my interest in journalism.”
In the spring of 2012, Hill applied with the Mobile Press-Register for her first internship, which led to her landing a “real” job as a public safety reporter through the Alabama Media Group. “I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I was working 24 hours a week for AL.com and taking 18 credit hours,” says Hill. “I’d have class until Friday afternoon, then leave and work for the online news site that evening and throughout the weekend.” As a part-time reporter, Hill covered hard news and handled social media responsibilities.
“She was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time when she was hired by Alabama Media Group during the transitional phase from daily press runs to three-day-a-week printed papers and digital content,” says Dr. Sharee Broussard, associate professor of communication arts at SHC. “Can you imagine how neat it was to see our student's photo in the Press-Register as part of the introductory materials for Alabama Media Group? We really enjoyed having a working journalist in our classes.”
Dr. Stuart Babington, assistant professor of communication arts, isn’t surprised Hill was chosen for the job with AL.com. “Emily covers a story the way it should be done,” he says. “She has demonstrated the kind of determination that is attractive to media organizations today. Not only does she use multiple sources and seek out multiple perspectives, but she also prepares the content for multiple audiences.”
After taking a break to focus on her studies, Hill followed the AL.com position with an internship at Mobile Bay Monthly magazine. “It was a much different focus, writing mainly feature stories. I previewed upcoming events, including the University of Alabama’s production of “Showboat” and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.” Hill says her most memorable experience at MBM was a one-on-one interview with the Spanish Ambassador during his visit to the Port City.
This past summer, Hill wrapped up a third internship, this time at FOX10 News. “It was definitely the most challenging internship I’ve ever done. I went out with reporters, contacted sources, and set up interviews. They let me shoot and edit my own video, as well as allowed me to help produce some of the shows. It was awesome to have Fox10’s main news anchor, Bob Grip, read a story I’d written.”
Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson, coordinator of career and professional development, supervised Hill’s internship with FOX10. “I was confident she would represent Spring Hill College in an exemplary way,” says Dexter-Wilson. “I enjoyed reading her course reflections on what she learned about her internship and how she plans to improve professionally in the future. It is clear to me that she has the foundation to become an exceptional leader who shows initiative and influences others.”
In keeping with her high level of motivation and desire to expand her journalism career options, two days ago, Hill began her fourth internship with Mobile’s Lagniappe. Her responsibilities will include researching, writing, and editing columns for the biweekly newspaper.
Hill, president of the national society for leadership and success at Spring Hill College, is also a member of the campus residence hall honorary society and the recipient of the 2013-14 John Will journalism scholarship. Her service projects include tutoring at local elementary and middle schools, as well as volunteering for Wilmer Hall, which provides a home for children who have no home or who cannot live with their natural parents.
“I ended up loving Wilmer Hall and the people there,” says Hill. “I’ve decided to continue my work for them through my communication arts senior seminar. It’s my goal to create a website and do some fundraising to support their many programs for local kids in need.”
Hill credits her Spring Hill professors for inspiring her to gain as much work/study experience as possible. “My professors are all very passionate about what they do. They really prepare and encourage students to explore all of their options. My communication arts instructors, in particular, inspired me to investigate journalism as a career choice.”
Though she hasn’t settled on an exact career path, Hill believes her internships have laid a solid foundation for whichever field she ultimately decides to pursue.
“Emily's been aggressive in pursuit of internships, and the result has been enhanced training in web journalism, traditional newspaper journalism, broadcast journalism, and magazine work,” says Babington. “She will graduate with the comfort of knowing she covered every base and worked toward every opportunity that was available to her.”
“She has demonstrated remarkable initiative and has excelled both in and out of the classroom,” adds Broussard. “As a result, she has a multi-platform portfolio that demonstrates skills expected for 21st-century journalism.”