Name: Catherine Sweeney
Degree: Multimedia Journalism
Year of graduation: 2015
Company: The Journal Record
Catherine Sweeney never knew her time with the OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications would lead to her career today.
“It was all just a snowball effect,” Sweeney said. “The O’Colly is just where the snowball started, I guess.”
Providing real-world experiences for personal and professional growth, the campus newspaper allowed Sweeney to begin her career as a capitol reporter sooner than most.
“If you’re a journalist, you have to have a lot of experience,” Sweeney explained. “I interned at the paper I work at now, and I never would’ve gotten that internship if I didn’t have published clips.”
Sweeney works for the Journal Record, a business and legal daily in Oklahoma City, where she reports on the state capitol.
“I focus on the legislature,” Sweeney said. “What kind of bills they’re working on, policy and state budget. Then, when the session ends in May, I shift my focus to state agencies.”
One of Sweeney’s outstanding memories in the Paul Miller Journalism Building was having the freedom to bring her ideas to life during her time at the O’Colly.
“It was like this little utopia we got for a bit,” Sweeney said. “Having the freedom to do whatever we wanted and not having to worry about the chain of command above us, like corporate owners, and seeing our ideas come to life would have been really hard to pull off in the real world.”
Sweeney’s advice for sophomores and juniors is to gain real-world experience.
“Everybody who graduates has the degree, but not everybody who graduates has the experience that will make them better in that field,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney’s advice for graduating seniors is to make good relationships with their professors.
“Connections will help you more than just about anything,” Sweeney said. “They won’t be annoyed if you call them on a Thursday afternoon and ask for advice. They like students, otherwise they wouldn’t teach, so don’t be embarrassed to reach out to them.”