Delece Smith-Barrow (G’12)
“Beef up your video skills. The more equipped journalists are at shooting and editing their own videos, the more marketable they are”
We are proud to present Delece Smith-Barrow as our October Alumna of the Month. Delece works in Washington, D.C. at U.S. News & World Report as a Reporter were she mostly writes and edits stories on higher education. Her Journalism degree has helped her the most on editing copy, which she applies everyday to her job. Read more about Delece and her advice to future journalists.
MPS Journalism: Why did you choose to attend Georgetown’s Journalism program?
Delece Smith-Barrow: I chose to attend Georgetown because of the flexibility. While there were a few required courses, I had a lot of freedom in terms of which classes I took. This let me choose electives that really interested me.
MPS JO: How has your degree from the Journalism program helped you in your current job?
DSB: My degree has been especially useful for editing copy. In school, my classmates and I would often read each other’s assignments and give each other feedback. Now I edit copy about every other day.
MPS JO: What is your best memory in the MPS Journalism program?
DSB: I will never forget visiting the White House Briefing Room. It made me realize how far I could go in journalism. Visiting the White House also reminded me that much of what journalists do reach consumers on a national and international level.
MPS JO: What one piece of advice would you give current students hoping to be journalists?
DSB: Get as much real-world experience as you can. Whether it’s through internships or part-time work as a student, it’s very important to apply what you learn in class to a real newsroom.
MPS JO: What is one digital tool or skill you would advise students to learn before working in the journalism field?
DSB: Beef up your video skills. The more equipped journalists are at shooting and editing their own videos, the more marketable they are. Video skills can be used with almost any beat and for a variety of roles: reporters, editors, web producers and many others.
MPS JO: What was the most surprising thing you learned about journalism in the real world that you didn’t know?
DSB: I would never have guessed how fast the industry would change. Online publications have transformed how the news is reported and how fast it gets out. Keeping up can be difficult.
MPS JO: What do you think is the biggest challenge young journalists face, and how can they overcome that obstacle?
DSB: Being versatile. Journalists can’t be too attached to any medium because we’re all required to have a variety of skills that can be used on a variety of platforms. Even if you love print journalism, for example, it might be difficult to only work for a print publication and not be required to contribute online.
One way to keep your skills fresh is to attend workshops and conferences offered by professional organizations, such as the Online News Association or the Education Writers Association. These groups regularly have training sessions that let journalists increase their skillsets.
MPS JO: What’s the most memorable piece you’ve published and why?
DSB: Not long after graduating I did a big story on the popularity of a local strip club in D.C. It was easily the hardest story I’ve ever written, but also it’s the most gratifying.
MPS JO: In recent months have you worked on any projects you are particularly
proud of or have you had any unique opportunities in your career?
DSB: I’ve done some interesting stories on how a decrease in the use of standardized tests have changed the landscape of law schools, and I’ve also written about a recent initiative from the Obama administration that aims to raise the profile of historically black colleges.
MPS JO: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DSB: I would love to have completed my first book while still working in education as an editor.