BY: Margaret Scott (’18)
Kaitlin Korgeski (’19) is a sophomore broadcast journalism major already making long strides toward her future career. Korgeski is active in TV-Marywood, belongs to the Society for Collegiate Journalists, serves as a staff writer on The Wood Word, and has already begun working in her field at Wilkes-Barre’s The Times Leader. She took some time to answer questions about her progress toward a bright future.
What is your current job at The Times Leader? What responsibilities does it include?
My current job is at The Times Leader where I am an obituary clerk and part time reporter. The obituaries are a big responsibility, as you can imagine. Some days it’s easy; other days it becomes a bit hard, especially when you have an obituary for an infant or someone who was murdered. Soon after I started, my boss asked me to write my first story. I was thrilled. I went out and did a great job. Since then he’s asked me to write more and more. The opportunities at The Times Leader are mind blowing to say the least.
What class at Marywood has helped you so far while working toward your career?
All of the classes at Marywood have helped me toward my career. Again, journalism is more than just writing today. You need to have some knowledge in everything. And since Marywood is a liberal arts university, too, I have learned about different people’s backgrounds and that has helped me to understand certain people as well. Without learning what I have at Marywood and with the help from my professors, I would not be where I’m at today, and I’m excited to see where it takes me after graduation.
Which club/organization/activity at Marywood has had the greatest influence on you?
I would have to say it is the TVM Package Team. I learn not only how to report but also how to operate the camera and edit the video. It gives me such amazing experience and because of it, I get to cover events not only on campus, but also off campus, such as the political rallies that came to Scranton. I am now considering minoring in political science so that I can be a political reporter when I graduate. In today’s world, journalists are expected to know how to operate the camera and how to edit the video themselves. The jobs used to be separate in the old days, but today a journalist needs to know a little something about everything.
Being fortunate enough to be a student journalist during this political election has given me great insight into the field. As I mentioned earlier, I am currently considering focusing my reporting on politics. The most rewarding experience I have had so far at Marywood is the political election and all of the video packages I have done with it. One of my proudest moments is tackling a Trump rally the night before America voted. After being denied press credentials, I was really disappointed but I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone get in my way, and so at the last minute I was able to get the equipment needed, found a classmate to help me, raced over to the rally, spent hours outside the rally in the cold, spent the night editing the video, and broadcasted that package live the next night. I’ll always remember that night.
What career do you ultimately see yourself having?
My ultimate goal is to be a news anchor. I’m still not sure where exactly I want to be in terms of location, but one thing is for sure, it definitely will not be in Pennsylvania. I want to travel the world and meet many people. I love the warm weather and the beach, so most likely somewhere down South is where I’ll settle down. I was born in the wrong state honestly. One thing’s for sure, no matter where I end up, my German shepherd will be right by my side.
I think I always knew somewhere deep down that I wanted to be a journalist. Ever since I was little, I would write odd stories all the time. I thought it was so fun. I can imagine that some of those stories are still saved on my dad’s computer. When I got older, I got interested in acting and performed in many local theaters. I discovered that I enjoyed being in the spotlight and in front of the camera. I remember the first time I met Dr. Wotanis in her office to discuss my interest in the program. I was just an undeclared freshman, still trying to find my way. I was feeling a bit sick that day and I remember her taking a soda out of her fridge for me. We discussed the program in detail and the rest is history from there. I want to be the voice for the silenced. There are so many people struggling out there who need their voices heard and a journalist can ultimately be their voice. That’s a very big job we have.
What skills do you think someone in your field should have?
A journalist should love people from all walks of life and be talkative. In this field, you are going to meet so many people and visit so many places you would never even dream of. You need to be able to approach everyone, including animals and children. Journalists can see people on the worst day of their life; that needs to be handled with care. One thing a journalist definitely needs to understand is the difference between work time and personal time. Let’s be honest, we are all human. While on the job, you may come across issues you don’t necessarily agree with. And that’s OK. Just keep quiet. Do your job. Journalists are unbiased. During your personal time, you’re free to voice your thoughts and concerns of course. But I must caution any journalist about social media. Social media is not the place for a journalist to voice his or her opinion. That becomes a sticky situation often and you might lose some potential sources. It’s not worth it.
Biggest piece of advice you would give a freshman Communication Arts student?
There is so much advice I can give to the current freshman and for future students, although I am still a youngster myself.
- Take chances. That’s honestly how I got to where I am today. When Dr. Wotanis shared about an opening at The Times Leader, I figured I should try for it. Even if I don’t get the job, it’s still experience that I can learn from. I ended up getting the job, and I absolutely love working for The Times Leader. I’m learning so much there! If I didn’t take that chance because I just assumed an upperclassman would get it, or they wouldn’t like me, or that I didn’t have enough experience yet, etc. I would not have this job right now. Don’t ever get too discouraged either.
- Get involved as much as possible. Marywood is a small school, so you have more opportunities compared to a large school. We have amazing programs and organizations. If you are not taking full advantage of these, then what in the world are you doing?
- Always reach out to your professors. Even if you don’t need their help with anything, just drop by their office to say hello.
- Be prepared. Carry multiple pens, have a pair of comfortable shoes with you (throw them in your trunk if you have to), have gloves and a hat if it is winter. As a result of this, everything is a learning experience. Whether it be good or bad, you will learn fast.
- Be unbiased. Unbiased. Unbiased.
- Check your work. Check your work. Check your work.
- Don’t burn any bridges in this field. Trust me. Don’t do it.
- Do not ever feel alone, especially in our department. The majority of people in our department are so friendly and welcoming. If you are struggling, reach out. If you need some friends, reach out. Someone is always down in the Center for Comm Arts in the Learning Commons. It could be 2 a.m. and someone will be there!
- Get used to pulling all-nighters in order to finish your work. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of yourself. Make sure you eat healthy and that you get sleep whenever you’re able to. Find some time for yourself; otherwise you’ll just go nuts.
- You have to start at the bottom to ever get to the top. I mean, look at me right now. I’m writing obituaries, but I have my foot in the door. People in the industry know my name; they know my face. It takes time to get to the top.
Margaret Scott is a junior Advertising/Public Relations major. In her free time, she enjoys being a DJ for 91.7 VMFM and taking part in Marywood’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter.