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Buzzworthy Journalism Grads Make Headlines

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“I have my Roosevelt journalism professors to thank for preparing me well for this experience,” says Giacomo Luca, an award-winning journalist who is currently reporting for CBS/Fox affiliate KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

From writing for daily newspapers to anchoring television news programs, alumni from Roosevelt University’s Journalism Program are realizing dreams as successful members of the media.

“Many of our journalism graduates are doing great things,” said Marian Azzaro, chair of the Department of Communication at Roosevelt. “One of the keys to our program is that it positions students to be prepared for the rapidly changing field of journalism by providing instruction in different media, from newspapers to video to Internet reporting.”

Started four decades ago, the Roosevelt journalism experience includes opportunities for learning at The Torch student newspaper, The Blaze student radio station and most recently The Fire, which is doing video news segments and is the newest student journalism format. “We’re teaching students to write and report for all kinds of journalistic media; these are skills that are useful and needed for success,” Azzaro said.

Jennifer (Berry) Hawes, a 1993 journalism graduate, brought positive attention to Roosevelt’s program as a member of a reporting team for The Post and Courier, a daily newspaper in Charleston, S.C., that won the Pulitzer Prize in April for Public Service for a five-part series on domestic violence.

She credits Roosevelt Associate Professor of Journalism Linda Jones with opening her eyes to the storytelling craft of journalism. “She instilled the importance of storytelling in me,” Hawes said of Jones, “and that’s what I’m really known for today.”

Roosevelt journalism alumnus Aaron Lee recently landed a job with ESPN in Chicago, getting a foot in the door toward one day achieving his ultimate goal of becoming an ESPN anchorman.

Lee, who also learned the importance of storytelling as a journalism undergraduate at Roosevelt, credits Roosevelt Journalism Professor John Fountain with inspiring him to tell his story of battling Crohn’s Disease and coming to terms with his mother’s untimely death.

“I remember having a professor who once told me ‘The sky’s the limit on where you can go’ and I feel that way about Aaron,” Fountain said recently.

Keeping that advice in mind, Lee covered the NFL Draft in Chicago as a freelance sports reporter and shortly after landed a job with ESPN Chicago. “This is going to be a stepping stone for me,” said Lee, who began work this fall on a master’s degree. “I’m getting to meet a lot of people at the network and they know I have aspirations to go a lot further.”

Giacomo Luca, who was working as an anchorman for a small TV station in Lima, Ohio, before graduating from Roosevelt in May 2014, already has moved up as an on-air reporter for a larger TV station that broadcasts out of Cape Girardeau, Mo.

As a reporter for a CBS affiliate station out of Cape Girardeau, which has the 81st largest TV market in the country, Luca goes live nightly, covering news from approximately 50 rural counties in four Midwest states.

“I broke into a top 100 market the month after I graduated from college and I have my Roosevelt journalism professors to thank for preparing me well for this experience,” said Luca. “I’ve been able to do my dream job every day and I couldn’t be happier.”

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