“Being a journalist is a great job no matter what you’re reporting on,” journalist Tina Firesheets said with a smile, “it is an opportunity to completely step into someone else’s life.”
Firesheets was kind enough to speak to my Elon University journalism class on Monday morning about the ups and downs of life as a reporter. Firesheets developed a passion for journalism at a young age, and spent her young life writing and attending journalism workshops.
“I was always told I was a good writer,” she said, “It was just something that came very naturally to me.”
Firesheets attended Brevard College for two years before transferring to University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While in college, she worked as a student reporter and was able to obtain numerous internships due to her skills and determination. After college, Firesheets was denied a position at the Greensboro News and Record, but did not give up hope. She instead became a writer for the newspaper’s entertainment magazine, where she worked for two years before eventually being hired by the paper.
“There are always different ways to get you where you want to go,” she said, “This opportunity taught me one thing: don’t give up hope.”
Firesheets’ passion for writing and reporting is both inspiring and contagious. As she stood before me, smiling and holding a patterned coffee mug, I realized just how passionate I am about journalism. Her demeanor was very similar to mine as I walked into an Elon academic building to declare my journalism major. Her advice rang through my head as I sat in class recording copious notes.
Internships are key. Firesheets stressed the importance of experience before entering the journalism world after college.
Be on time. “I always try to allow myself enough time to get lost,” she joked.
Be smart. Firesheets suggested dressing in dress suits before attending a function or an interview. “You want to be taken seriously,” she added.
Be prepared. Firesheets talked about the fact that background research and preparation are vital to succeeding in the journalism world.
Don’t give up. “If I had given up after originally being rejected by the Greensboro News and Record, I may not be where I am today,” she said.
Firesheets’ talk was extremely beneficial and inspiring to a class of 18 aspiring journalists. Her drive and determination ultimately led to her success, and with the same attitude, I am confident that I will achieve greatness.