4/28/14 ASHLAND, Ohio – Two digital media journalism students at Ashland University will graduate during commencement exercises on May 10 and both will walk across the stage to get their degrees with very impressive jobs in hand.
Elizabeth Bucheit of North Canton accepted a position of production assistant with ESPN Sports in Bristol, Conn., while Rebecca Ribley of Medina has been hired as a TV reporter at WAOW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wausau, Wis.
Bucheit will start her production assistant (PA) role with ESPN on July 14. As a PA, she will be working closely with producers, producing different highlight and voice over pieces that air on shows like SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, NBA Tonight, etc.
“Not only do I create the highlights, but this job also includes writing the script for the highlights that the talent read on the air,” she said. “As a PA, I am part of the CAP Program, which is a six-year program starting as a PA for up to two years, and a content associate (CA) for up to four years. From there, I will have the freedom to move within the company.”
Bucheit was able to land this job after participating in a 10-week internship with ESPN that ended on April 4.
“Starting on Jan. 27, I was in Bristol, Conn., doing many of the things that I will be doing once I am back at ESPN,” she said. “I was able to land the internship by applying through DisneyCareers.com, interning with SportsTime Ohio last spring and then working for them this past summer and early fall, not to mention the countless opportunities within the AU department.”
Bucheit said the interview process for the internship was very involved.
“I interviewed with two different people, but had multiple conversations with each person,” she recalled. “I also had a homework type assignment that included analyzing any ESPN broadcast show, watching a game and creating an outline of a highlight, and a shorter version of a cover letter telling them why I would be a good candidate for the job. The interview process to be an intern is rigorous due to the number of people who apply every session -- usually around 15,000.”
Bucheit said at the end of her internship, she met with a hiring recruiter who told her that based on the work she had done for them as an intern, they wanted to extend a full-time offer to her to start in the summer.
Bucheit said the JDM Department at Ashland University was the reason she was able to land this job.
“Our JDM department is the sole reason that I transferred to AU in the first place. (Professor) Tim McCarty told me that if ESPN was my dream, he could guarantee that I would be ready when the time came as long as I was willing to put in the work,” Bucheit said. “While the classes that the department offers are necessary to learn the basics, it is really the dedication of the professors that allowed me to grow during my time here. With their dedication to outside experiences like broadcasting AU football and basketball games, news updates, sports updates, live debates etc., we are able to get a real taste of what our futures will be like. The professors encourage you to try new things, accept new ideas, and push you to do your best and improve on every project you work on.”
Bucheit said she would highly recommend the JDM department to high school students looking to pursue a journalism-digital media degree. “AU's journalism and digital media curriculum is set up so that by the time you graduate, you can write a story, shoot a story and edit a story. You are able to be a true multimedia journalist, which is what the world of journalism is today. As a freshman, you are able to walk into the journalism hallway and do anything you want. You can anchor a show, you can write for The Collegian, or you can DJ a show on 88.9 WRDL-FM. The possibilities to grow within our department are endless, but more importantly they are priceless,” she said.
In her new position as a reporter at WAOW-TV in Wausau, Wis., Ribley will be covering the Marshfield, Wis., area.
“I was fortunate enough to get a job that starts immediately after graduation. I will be moving to the Wausau/Marshfield area on May 11 and then begin my job on May 14,” she said. “After my training period, I will immediately be out in the city covering stories, doing daily live shots on air and interacting with the public.”
Ribley attributed the securing of the job to pure determination.
“I knew coming in as JDM major that it was going to be difficult to find a job after graduation, given the competitive nature of this particular career,” she said. “I made a goal two years ago to have a job as I walked across the stage at commencement. When January rolled around, while still early, I decided I was going to start applying. With the help of the internet I was able to keep up with stations all over the country and apply to reporting jobs that I was qualified for. After being in contact with several stations about potential jobs, I chose to accept the position at WAOW. I felt that they were a perfect fit for me and seemed very willing to help me grow as a journalist, which is exactly what I was looking for.”
Ribley said the interview process was incredibly fast paced. “I got a call out of the blue from the news director at WAOW on Tuesday evening, which was considered the first step in the interview process. After talking to him for half an hour, a Skype interview was set up for the next afternoon. The interview on Wednesday consisted of many situational questions and lasted 45 minutes. The next day I received a call from the news director offering me the job.”
Ribley said the JDM department at Ashland University was very instrumental in preparing her for her first job. “My professor and mentor, Gretchen Dworznik, has been incredible at pushing me to reach my full potential. With her being a television reporter for 10 years before coming to AU, she knew exactly what was relevant and important for me to learn to be able to land an amazing internship at WKYC Channel 3 in Cleveland during the summer of 2013 and now this job,” she said.
She said that Dr. Dworznik, the other JDM faculty, and her internship taught her to shoot, write and edit to the best of her ability. “Being a TV reporter used to be a dream and now the Ashland University Journalism and Digital Media department has helped to make it a reality,” she said.
Ribley said she recommends the AU department to anyone who has an interest in this field.
“While larger colleges might be appealing to some students, the Ashland University JDM department offers more hands-on experiences in all three media outlets as a freshman,” she said. “During my time at AU I have been able write articles for the Collegian, create radio promos for WRDL and report/anchor/produce news updates for TV-20. Throughout those experiences I was able to find what interested me the most and then received support from all of the professors in the department to pursue that particular area. I would not trade the experiences and the friendships that I have created with both faculty and students in this department for anything.”
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###