Alumna of the Month – January 2015

Heather Brady  (G’13)

Twitter: @HeatherLBrady  Website:

Storytelling is a part of who we are as people, and my favorite part of journalism is that we get to tell stories that are true.

We are proud to feature Heather Brady as our January 2015 Alum of the Month! Heather is a digital editorial specialist at National Geographic Magazine in Washington, D.C. She has previously worked at Slate and NPR. Read more about Brady’s life-changing experience in Data Reporting and why she loves the storytelling aspects of journalism.

MPS Journalism: Why did you choose to attend Georgetown’s Journalism program? How did you hear about us?

Heather Brady: I explored the idea of going to grad school for journalism before I had even finished my undergraduate degree, and Georgetown’s program was appealing to me because of its innovative multimedia approach and outstanding faculty. I wanted to have a wide range of skills in as many kinds of storytelling as I could get my hands on, and I wanted to learn those skills from top journalists who are currently working in the rapidly changing field. Georgetown’s program allowed me to do that. But what ultimately convinced me to begin my application was my fellow Fall 2011 intern at NPR, Elena Chiriboga, who was already in the program. She brought me to one of her classes as a guest student, and I knew that I had to go here after a fascinating class discussion with a former Washington Post ombudsman who was the guest speaker that night. I was inspired and excited.

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From the Intern Files: Brittany Bremer at CCTV



This fall, Brittany Bremer has been interning at CCTV News, where she has learned firsthand what it takes to get a news show off the ground. Through this paid – yes, paid! – internship, Bremer has gained experience pitching shows ideas, writing promos and transcribing interviews. We recently talked to her about her experience and asked her to share her thoughts on what it’s like to be on the inside of a new news channel

MPS JO: Tell us about CCTV and its audience.

Brittany Bremer: CCTV News is China’s English language news channel, launched in 2010, and broadcast to more than 85 million homes across 100 countries. In the United States, through cable and satellite, the channel is in nearly 30 million homes. In 2012, CCTV America was launched, providing coverage of news in North and South America to CCTV News as well as U.S. news coverage for all Chinese language channels. CCTV America programming originated in Washington, D.C., and has expanded to Los Angeles and New York, as well as South America and Central America, where more than a dozen correspondents are based. I work on CCTV America’s newsmagazine show, Full Frame, which premiered this past April. Anchored by Mike Walter, the show focuses on humanitarian and social causes and human interest stories.

MPS JO: What is a typical day like? What are your responsibilities?

BB: My days vary depending on what needs to get done. My responsibilities include logging, transcribing, social media, research packets, pitching show ideas, and writing promos and segment articles. I’m hoping to get to go out on a shoot for one of our video essays soon.

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Alumnus of the Month – December 2014


Byron Tau (G‘12)
Twitter: @ByronTau

Georgetown’s program seemed like a great way to get clips, learn the fundamentals of journalism and meet working journalists — and do it while going to school in the center of politics and government.

We are proud to feature Byron Tau as our December Alumnus of the Month. Byron recently started a new job as a White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Before that, he worked at Politico. Read more to hear about Byron’s new job, advice for budding journalist and about his future aspirations.

MPS Journalism: Why did you choose to attend Georgetown’s Journalism program? How did you hear about us?

Byron Tau: I came to D.C. on a bit of a lark in 2008 and I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do with myself. I knew I had an interest in politics, but I didn’t really see myself in a partisan political job. I had done some college journalism, but mostly as an editor and an opinion writer. I didn’t have a lot of news-gathering or deadline writing experience. Also, both the wider global economy and the journalism industry were in a bit of a freefall at the time. Georgetown’s program seemed like a great way to get clips, learn the fundamentals of journalism and meet working journalists — and do it while going to school in the center of politics and government.

MPS JO: You recently started a new position. Tell us about it.

BT: I just started as a White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal in November. A lot of my job is being simply being the eyes and ears of the newspaper at the White House — from sitting in on the daily press briefings to being in the room with the president when he’s signing bills or meeting with foreign leaders. I work with two other reporters, who share some of those duties with me. On the other hand, being at the White House means that you sometimes only hear from the administration, so it’s important to have contacts and sources outside the building to counterbalance what the administration is telling you day in and day out.

It’s also a journalism experience with a ton of variety. One day you can be writing about Syria’s chemical weapons or immigration policy and the next day you might be covering the new White House pastry chef or writing about how the president went golfing with Derek Jeter. All in a day’s work on the White House beat.

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Stephanie Kariuki represents Georgetown SPJ at leadership institute

Stephanie Kariuki and  Journalism Assistant Dean Amy L. Kovac-Ashley each display one word about their experience at the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute. (Photo credit: Abbi Martzall)

The 2013-14 executive board of the Georgetown University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recently selected Stephanie Kariuki among several applicants to attend a leadership training event hosted by the national SPJ. We asked her to write a little bit about her experience there and to share what she learned.

By Stephanie Kariuki

The forecast for the weekend of November 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio, wasn’t looking good. An arctic blast was on its way, and a snowstorm had just hit the northeastern part of the state. But I wasn’t going to let that deter me. I was headed to the small Midwestern city after being selected to represent Georgetown University’s Society of Professional Journalists at the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, and I was excited.

This leadership conference was the first I have attended that incorporated my life’s passion of telling stories through journalism. By the end of the weekend-long event, I had made new friends, had a better understanding of myself as a leader and had learned how to win excessive amounts of fake money in craps.

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Student Feature: Judy Kurtz

Judy_June_2014-4 (1)

Judy Kurtz is the “In the Know” columnist for The Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C., where she covers gossip, the District’s nightlife and social scene, celebrities and politics. Kurtz has contributed to several local and national news programs, appearing on MSNBC, FOX News Channel, HLN, “Inside Edition,” Canada’s Sun Network, WTTG-TV, WRC-TV and SiriusXM satellite radio.

A D.C. native, Kurtz began her journalism career with a stint at People magazine. She also has worked as a television reporter and host in Baltimore and Washington and covered entertainment and technology for several digital publications.

Kurtz is mom to an 11-month-old son and loves spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, exercising and being a celeb news junkie.

MPS JO: What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism?

Judy Kurtz: Growing up in Washington and around journalists, I’ve been surrounded by news and politics my whole life. It was hard not to get hooked!

MPS JO: What is a typical day like for you at The Hill? What are your responsibilities?

JK: Working as a gossip columnist in Washington definitely isn’t your typical 9 to 5 job. Every day (and night) is something different.

Whether I’m headed to the Capitol to talk to lawmakers, chatting up celebrities on the red carpet or covering the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, my job certainly keeps me on my toes. On any given day, I’ll be crashing on deadline to file my column for the print paper, blogging the latest gossip online, doing television and radio hits about some of my stories, and tweeting up a storm.

MPS JO: What is your favorite thing about working at The Hill?

JK: I have a lot of favorite things, but working at the Capitol is pretty high up there. As a history nerd, getting to interview lawmakers at the Capitol building and at the White House really never gets old. I think that the day that walking around those marble hallways doesn’t feel like a privilege, is the day it’s probably time to go.

MPS JO: Do you have any advice for students looking for internships or jobs?

JK: Do as many internships as possible! They’re the best way to learn. And take whatever job is available just to get your foot in the door. I ran the teleprompter for a TV station in Nashville for my first job out of college. It wasn’t my “dream” job, but it was an opportunity, and I grabbed it. I’d go to the station on my off days to practice shooting standups and putting together packages, and that’s what helped me build my reel to get my next job.

Finally, find a mentor and stay connected with that person even after your internship or job is over. I’m still in touch with my mentors, who have helped, supported and guided me through the professional ups and downs!

MPS JO: What is the most memorable piece you’ve published?

JK: I wrote a story in 2012 on folks who were trying to hawk tickets to the presidential inauguration on online auction sites. The article ignited a firestorm, as sellers were trying to make big bucks on tickets that were supposed to be free and doled out through a congressional office lottery system. After it was published, the online auction houses pledged to work with lawmakers to ban the practice on their sites.

MPS JO: What do you think is the biggest challenge young journalists face?

JK:I think trying to juggle multiple responsibilities without dropping any of those balls along the way is tough for journalists young and old. We have to constantly be filing stories, shooting and editing video (if you’re in TV), tweeting, talking to sources, writing for the web, and so many other things, while not sacrificing accuracy, ethics and all that good stuff.

MPS JO: Tell us how your classes from the Journalism program have helped you in your current job.

JK: The program has helped diversify my journalism experience and has given me the opportunity to explore a variety of different beats. Also, brushing up on the basics, such as ethics and writing, is never a bad thing. I’ve also appreciated the guidance and knowledge that Georgetown professors bring to their jobs and to the classroom.

MPS JO: How do you balance school with work?

JK: Juggling school, work and a baby is no joke! I feel very fortunate to be in the position I’m in and to have a great job and a super supportive family. Beyond that, lots and lots of chai tea lattes.

MPS JO: Where do you see yourself in five years?

JK: Running after an almost 6-year-old! And maybe filing my column while sitting in a beach chair, if I ever manage to convince The Hill to open up a bureau on some tropical island.

Student Veteran Profile: Jefferson James


Twitter: @jeffersonstweet

Jefferson James explains how her military career has contributed to her experience as a Journalism student. James was recently elected president of the Georgetown University student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and she is also an intern with Comcast SportsNet Washington this semester.

MPS JO: What did you do in the military prior to joining the Journalism program?

Jefferson James: As an Air Force intelligence analyst, I collected and reported on classified reconnaissance data, while travelling to fascinating places and meeting some amazing people.

MPS JO: How are you applying your military experience to your journalism career?

JJ: I gained so much invaluable experience in the military. My role as a non-commissioned officer instilled the importance of being goal oriented and self-sufficient, while my job emphasized attention to detail and meeting high pressure deadlines – all important aspects of journalism.

MPS JO: What would you like people to know about the life of a student veteran?

JJ: Many student veterans have life experiences that may set them apart from others. Transitioning from the military to civilian world can be more difficult for some than others. But I think it’s good to remember that one thing we all share as students is the common goal of pursuing our dreams through higher education.

MPS JO: Anything else you would like to add?

JJ: The military is one of the most diverse groups you will find. Every veteran has a unique history and likely a unique reason for  transitioning to student life. If  I could give one piece of  advice, it would be to avoid generalizations about service members. Reach out and get to know a veteran. You never know what you’ll discover.


Alumna of the Month – November 2014

Elena Chiriboga (G‘13)
Twitter: @ElenaChiriboga

Take chances and don’t be afraid to sign up for the class that seems like a challenge. You never know when it could spur an interest in you that you never had before.

We are proud to feature Elena Chiriboga as our November Alumna of the Month. Elena is a senior producer for POLITICO Pro and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about Elena’s favorite classes while in the program, the benefit of understanding data reporting and her current choice in books.

MPS Journalism: Tell us how your degree from the Journalism program has helped you in your current job. Were there any classes or professors who made a significant impact on your career?

Elena Chiriboga: At Georgetown, I enrolled in classes to sharpen my reporting and news writing skills, but I was also very interested in taking classes that were completely new to me. All the basic classes such as Reporting and News Writing, Video Journalism and Ethics have been so vital to my work as a journalist. Some days I am doing more writing, other days it’s more editing or producing. A large aspect of my job is being able to work efficiently — and with confidence — under breaking-news deadlines, and I don’t think I would be able to do that successfully if I didn’t have a good journalistic foundation.

Keith Jenkins’ Multimedia Storytelling was probably one of my favorite classes. Not only did I pick up audio- and photo-editing skills, which I use daily at work, but I learned about how to look at photos and audio very differently. The class almost didn’t feel like a typical journalism class because Keith’s approach is so unique. He introduced us to the importance of design, new media, color theory — all things you normally wouldn’t find in journalism class but end up being very helpful when you’re working in an innovative digital atmosphere. I really appreciated the atypical approach he took because it allowed me to to see things from a different perspective and take creative chances with my work.

A lot of multimedia journalism is about the importance of nuance — a small sound bite can make all the difference — or the expression on someone’s face in a photo. At my current position, it’s very important that I can creatively think of ways to portray stories and multimedia packages to our readers. The content we cover at POLITICO is mostly policy related and it can be quite granular, so finding ways to make it more digestible to our readers — whether it be through podcasts or infographics — is a challenge that I have been able to take on confidently because the classes at Georgetown were very hands on and allowed you to develop skills you could put to use every day as a working journalist.

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Alumni Kudos – Fall 2014

Student Work – Fall 2014

Faculty member Natalie Hopkinson moderates a citywide forum on education

Faculty member Natalie Hopkinson was the moderator at the Oct. 22 Mayoral Forum for Education, where she questioned three candidates running for mayor in the District about their policies regarding public and charter schools in the city.

Opening with comments about her firsthand experience as a D.C. parent, Hopkinson asked candidates Muriel Bowser, David Catania and Carol Schwartz about coordination between the city’s public schools and charter schools and whether the growth of charter schools in the District is sustainable.

The forum can be viewed online here.

Hopkinson has taught Culture Reporting and worked with Capstone students.