“I am my own competition.”
Alumna Eryn Cooper (B.S., Telecommunications and Film ’19) is a multimedia journalist at WTVC-TV News Channel 9 in Chattanooga, TN. As a recent graduate of C&IS, Cooper is a storyteller who worked with the ESPN/SEC network, the NFL’s Washington Redskins Broadcast Network and UA’s Tide TV during her time at UA. By networking and using the skills she learned in the classroom, Cooper has fulfilled her lifelong aspiration to be a multimedia journalist.
Read below to see Cooper’s insight into her current career, the lessons she’s learned along the way and how C&IS helped her create her story.
What is your official job title?
I am a “multimedia journalist” — a fancy way of saying an on-air reporter who usually does all of her own shooting, writing, editing, and reporting!
Why did you choose C&IS for your studies?
I have always loved being creative and sharing art and stories with other people. Growing up, I loved to perform in theatre productions and in music concerts. Whether I was acting, writing, speaking, or playing an instrument, I loved to make people feel a certain way. Thus, studying communication made a ton of sense to me!
What lessons from C&IS have helped you in starting your career?
NETWORKING. Making connections in as competitive of a field as media/broadcast is absolutely crucial. I don’t know where I’d be without my wonderful C&IS professors who encouraged and provided networking opportunities all four years of college.
How can students make the best use of their studies?
Every assignment is an opportunity to own and improve on your craft. I always found the assignments we were given in C&IS to be very relevant and have found myself thinking about how helpful they were even now in my “real world” job. Also–form close, real, meaningful relationships with your professors. They can help you in ways you could never imagine.
What advice do you have for students interested in broadcast journalism?
The skills we learn in C&IS are applicable to so many jobs. Know that the program you’re in stands out among others and you are COMPETITIVE. It is common for UA C&IS grads to land elite job opportunities right out of college that are other people’s second or third job. Also–please believe you can achieve anything if you work for it. Being rewarded for hard work is not luck–it’s what you earn from doing your best each day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is getting to help people through the stories I tell. Whether it’s making someone happy from sharing their triumph, or preventing something horrible from happening to someone else by sharing another’s experience–it feels like what I’m doing matters. Getting a thankful and complimentary text from an interviewee after they watch the story I spent all day working on reassures me I’m in the right field.
What motivates you?
Knowing there is always more to learn. Media and broadcast journalism are fields that are changing and evolving every minute. I am never bored–there is always something to get better at. I am my own competition!
Thank you, Eryn!