Whitfield: Your career starts on campus
CNN Newsroom anchor Fredricka Whitfield completed six internships as a college student, and went on to launch a career in which she has reported on presidential elections, refugee crises and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a Media School Speaker Series talk Thursday, she encouraged IU students to take advantage of opportunities they have while in college like she did.
“All it takes is one yes, just one opportunity,” Whitfield said. “You have to take advantage of the opportunities on campus because that is where your career really starts.”
With over three decades of experience in journalism, Whitfield anchors the Atlanta-based network’s weekend edition broadcast. The Howard University alumna stressed the importance of college classes and internships when pursuing a career in media.
At the event, Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. representative and distinguished scholar of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, presented Whitfield with the Lee H. Hamilton Public Service Fellowship for her impeccable work in broadcast journalism.
Media School students who attended the lecture valued Whitfield’s insight into both college and the field of journalism.
“Fredricka’s history of experience inspired me to get involved early and make sure that I’m truly interested in what I’m studying,” said freshman Ellie McAtee.
Whitfield emphasized the importance of preparedness. When she made a mistake at her first job as a broadcast journalist, she learned that truth-telling requires constant attention and planning.
Sophomore Ally Schmitt attended the lecture and appreciated Whitfield’s transparency about working in news.
“She explained that learning never ends at college,” Schmitt said. “And showed me that one can learn a lot throughout their careers.”
Whitfield concluded the lecture with her philosophy on unbiased reporting.
“It doesn’t mean unfeeling reporting,” she said. “It just means refraining from coloring my reporting with my own thoughts and feelings.”
The talk was co-sponsored by The Media School, the Indiana Center on Representative Government and the Office of the Vice President for Government Relations and Economic Engagement.