Alumni Spotlight: Heather Randall

Photo Courtesy of Heather Randall

Photo Courtesy of Heather Randall

Name: Heather Randall
Position: Reporter
Company: Weiser Signal American
Degree(s): B.A. from the University of San Francisco and 2 semesters of journalism: 105, 120 205, 215 Internship at UT- San Diego
Whereabouts: Weiser, Idaho
What do you do? I am a reporter, photographer, supposed to be a designer, but that isn’t really happening, I do a small amount of office work as well.
How did you get your job? journalismjobs.com
What is the best professional lesson you learned at Palomar? Learn AP style and be diversified in your skill set. As a general rule, being an excellent writer will only get you  so far.
What advice do you have for current students? Enjoy the idea of having a boss that will throw a name and or concept at you that you have no idea about. In that situation inevitably you’re going to need more information. Learn HOW to address your boss and if they don’t give you everything you need, look around, or “Outside of the box” to answer remaining questions. It should become your mission to build rapport quickly, and genuinely with everyone and everything that qualifies as a resource. Not everyone is going to like you, but they shouldn’t be able to say anything bad about you either. Show respect, generally you’ll get the same back. Anytime a source takes the time to call you back, especially one that you’ve had to work to get to, show your appreciation for them choosing to give you their time. They don’t have to, and then you may not have a story. What’s correct in the journalism world, or what you learned may not always apply on the job. If you’re going to challenge your boss, or some other authority – think carefully about how you’re going to present your side of the argument. Choose your battles – most are not worth the fight, or the damage you may do to your relationship with that person. There’s no such thing as: “That’s not in my job description” or “That story isn’t important.” You might not think it’s not very important, guarantee you, someone else does. Sack up, and get excited about writing profiles on people you disagree with politically or otherwise. 

What is your favorite Palomar memory? The last story I wrote about the ASG censuring a faculty member. It was an issue I had followed closely for the last year, so to see the whole thing play out in front of me was pretty amazing. Whether I agreed or disagreed with what happened, didn’t matter. It was great to see the democratic process play out and report on an issue that was definitely huge for the future of Palomar, even if most people won’t realize it until it impacts them directly.
Last thoughts?
In my opinion you have to be kind of scrappy to survive as a reporter – especially if you take a job in the middle of nowhere. In one day you may talk to an absurd range of sources for stories – the vast majority of them are going to be very interesting. Getting to tell stories is pretty awesome as a career. However, small papers have even smaller staffs and resources. Be ready to step up and get as much out of it as you can, and be prepared to attempt your own side projects to pad up the resume to hopefully attract employers with larger wallets.
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