Stick with It: Video Transcript

Ida Lieszkovszky-Hargitai (BA Psychology and Journalism, Miami, 2009) [Reporter who covers court cases for, which collaborates with The Plain Dealer]: When I came to Miami University, I knew I wanted to major in psychology. I was always fascinated by the way people work, what makes them tick, what makes them think a certain way or do a certain thing, or behave a certain way, what makes us the same, what makes us different. And I ended up, I was going to initially double major in communications and psychology. And one of my professors said, "It doesn't look like you're really into this, but you write pretty well, why don't you look into writing for The Miami Student, maybe journalism would interest you." I ended up pursuing a career in journalism, and I'm glad I did.

Journalism majors have to double major, and a lot of my friends double majored in political science, or history, which are maybe a little more practical, but I really think that double majoring in psychology is helpful because journalism is so much about talking to people and understanding people and getting their stories. And psychology gives you an avenue into that, particularly with courts and crime coverage, psychology is a huge element of that.

The journalism department at Miami University did a great job preparing me for my career, particularly because I think there was such a strong emphasis on learning multiple media, which is huge these days. You know, all employers are looking for people that can do it all, people that can write well, of course, but also do video and audio editing, and be on camera and be behind the camera. And the fact that I was encouraged to learn all those skills here helped me to land a job in public radio and later at In both places they were looking for people that can do multiple things, and not just one thing.

Liberal arts education is something that you can use in any career really. It teaches you how to think critically, it teaches you how to ask questions, it teaches you how to write well, and express yourself, and those are all skills that translate into any profession. And that's the wonderful thing too about getting a degree in journalism or communications. Those are skills that are easily transferable. Things are changing so quickly with the internet, and with all this new technology, and journalist as a field, or as a profession, looks very different now than it did a decade ago or two decades ago. Now it's no longer just about writing or print, it's about doing it all, it's about having all those skills.

I graduated in 2009, which was the worst moment to graduate with a degree in journalism. It was the economic crisis, newspapers were folding left and right. And I ended up moving back home with my parents like a lot of people did then, and writing letters to a couple news directors at a public radio stations in my area. At WCPN 90.3 in Cleveland, the news director was very generous and said, "Come on by, you can work for free and we'll see how you do." And I did that for about a month before they put me on a temporary contract, and then another temporary contract, and then another temporary contract, and I ended up doing several of these temporary contracts that filled up about a year. And then in June of 2010, I got a job in California, in Sacramento, for Capital Public Radio, which is a network of public radio stations on the west coast. I moved over to to cover courts, and now this "Best Of…" So, winding, but learned a lot along the way.

My advice for Miami students who are graduating with degrees in journalism is to stick with it. If you have the talent, and you have the tenacity, and you want it bad enough, somebody will see that in you. And it might not be the first day after you graduate, and it might not be a month later, but somebody will recognize it, and it’ll pay off, because it is a wonderful career to work in. The best way to learn journalism is to do it, to go out and do those interviews, to go out and write those stories, even if no one is paying you yet to do it, do it.

[April 2016]