JoAnn Weaver prepares for a broadcasting career

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JoAnn Weaver is a senior majoring in communication at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

When JoAnn Weaver turns on the television news, she doesn’t just get information, she’s envisioning her future.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis senior communication major hopes to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, and she’s already forging strong relationships in the field through academic research and networking with those in the field.

Weaver and a friend headed to Ferguson, Mo., during the protests that followed the Aug. 9 death of Mike Brown. The events resonated with Weaver and she used those experiences as the basis for an independent study project at UMSL for the fall 2014 semester.

“The reporters there were receiving updates and wanted to get the news out to the people as soon as they could,” she said.

Weaver, a graduate of Jennings (Mo.) High School, interviewed eight journalists, some local and some national, on their impressions after covering Ferguson as media professionals. Her project sought to catalog the challenges that journalists face in the era of instant reporting and social media, with an emphasis on African American reporters.

Weaver included local reporters such as Farrah Faizal, Russell Kinsaul, Julian Johnson and Andre Hepkins, asking them questions such as whether they had feared for their lives during the protests (one reporter said they had), and why they pursued journalism as a career.

“I was impressed with JoAnn as someone who would take the time and effort to talk to key people about what they were doing,” said Mike Murray, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Media Studies at UMSL.

In addition to majoring in communication, Weaver is also obtaining a public relations certificate.

When she’s not in class, Weaver can be found working her internship at Next Chapter Educational Consulting, where she produces a monthly radio show and works in social media.

“I always wondered if broadcast journalism would be for me, so I wanted to see reporters in action,” Weaver said. “All of this experience has taught me that this is where my passion lies, that this is the career path that I want to pursue.”

The UMSL Experience

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