Alumni Get Social and Share Their TFAS Experience

A student recently accepted to the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) posted on our Facebook wall asking: “I was just accepted into the IPJ program for this summer, and I am very excited, but I’d like to hear about whether the cost was worth it from some alumni of the program. Is it worth it to have political experience in DC? I’d love to hear about your experience as soon as possible!”

Over the next few hours, IPJ alumni filled the Facebook thread sharing their experience, where they are now and how IPJ helped them get there.

Tom Corrigan – IPJ 2011
Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
It was well worth it for me -I think very highly of TFAS and IPJ. They’ve been influential and exceptionally generous since I was just starting out in journalism. I went to grad school after TFAS (one of my IPJ professors wrote a recommendation for me), and then I eventually got a reporting job with The Wall Street Journal. IPJ can definitely give you a solid stepping stone to a career in journalism, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Elizabeth Jia – IPJ 2005
Multi-Media Journalist, WUSA-TV CBS
I’d say TFAS provides a comprehensive experience of Washington beyond being a tourist. You are not only seeing the sights, you’re meeting people who may be helpful to your future journalism endeavors. These connections have allowed me to learn about my industry in-depth through interacting with alums and the director. I headed the IPJ alumni roundtable last year and I got to hear from participants working in places that I’ve wanted to know more in broadcasting. So it’s the access to people that makes this program effective. (The food is also a perk :))

Samantha Jo J Roth – Capital Semester 2013
Freelance Television Reporter
I would absolutely recommend the TFAS program to anyone. I was offered multiple jobs right out of school in TV News, I took one in Des Moines, Iowa (market 72) and was the chief political reporter. Eventually, I left and was recruited to work for the Huffington Post to cover the Iowa caucuses and the primaries. I absolutely believe my internship experience in DC helped me land that first job as a political reporter in one of the most important states leading up to the election. I would also say the program is really what you make of it. Soak up every experience while you’re in town and go above and beyond in your internship. The news business is extremely small, and making connections in DC while you’re still in college is extremely valuable! Good luck!

Jessica Taylor – IPJ 2005
Political Reporter, National Public Radio
The program was invaluable to helping me make connections I wouldn’t have been able to make on my own and in helping me break into DC journalism. My internship at the National Journal led to me being hired by them right after I graduated, and then connections I made through that internship helped me land jobs at Politico, and I went on to work at NBC News, The Hill and other publications before landing at NPR. I’m constantly meeting people in DC journalism who did the program too. The program teaches you a lot about how DC works and most importantly helps you get that foot in the door that’s so hard to do on your own. I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am in my career today without TFAS and IPJ.

Brianna Broad – IPJ 2011
Senior Account Executive, kglobal public relations
I agree with all of the above. Definitely worth and is a great experience. Not only did I meet my current boss (which got me the job!) through the program, I learned a lot, had a great young professional experience and met awesome people. Hope this helps!

Jake Batsell – IPJ 1994
Journalism Professor, SMU
I can truly say that summer changed my life. I got tons of clips working for The Arizona Republic’s D.C. bureau, learned a lot in my classes and, most importantly, met friends and colleagues with whom I remain in contact more than two decades later. I’m now a journalism professor at SMU in Dallas, and last year I encouraged one of my own students to attend IPJ. She did, and had a wonderful experience.

Aubree Eliza Weaver – IPJ 2011
IPJ was probably one of the best summers of my life and really helped open a lot of doors for me career-wise. Honestly, without the program, I’m not sure I’d have been able to get my foot in the door in such a competitive field in an equally competitive city. Even now, it always surprises me how often I run into fellow IPJ alumni and how much we all work to help each other out. Good luck and I really hope you give it a chance!

Daniel Wiser Jr. – IPJ 2012
Assistant Editor, National Affairs
For my career, it was an invaluable experience. My participation in IPJ helped me obtain internships and/or jobs at the Washington Times, Washington Free Beacon, and now National Affairs, and I also met mentors and friends that I still keep in touch with. If your goal is to make inroads in the D.C. journalism community, this is one of the best opportunities out there.

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