By Simon Isham–
As a freshman at Towson University in Baltimore, Md., Brian Stelter created TVNewser, a blog about cable television news. Throughout his college years, the blog gained notoriety and “The New York Times” picked up his story on their cover. At graduation, Stelter knew he had a job at The Gray Lady.
Now, he has his own show on CNN, “Reliable Sources,” which airs every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Stelter’s fresh-out-of-college success story is more than most recent graduates can hope for, but Stelter shared his experiences and tips with communication students today in the TV studio in the basement of Strickler Hall.
Stelter majored in mass communication, but said that if he could do college over again, he would not have chosen to pursue journalism as a major. Instead, he said he would have chosen to major in “history, or something for fun.”
“It’s because I learned so much by doing it,” he said. “My classes in college were essential for (media) law, for ethics, for some of the mechanics, but I think I learned more by doing it. I never thought to major in anything other than journalism, since it was what I loved since I was seven years old. But in retrospect, you only get those four years once. I would have liked to have taken more classes in other topics, like economics.
“The reason I started the blog was because I had a boring first semester. I got busier, but the blog was so important by then that I wanted to keep it going.”
During college, Stelter was also the editor-in-chief of Towson’s newspaper, “The Towerlight.”
“It’s like covering a miniature city. Universities are miniature cities. They should be as such. There are great and important stories there. What I noticed was that we could be relevant not just on campus, but in the whole community,” he said.
Stelter told students that if he were just starting out as a reporter, he would make his beat as specific as possible, such that his coverage would be “indispensable.”
In 2011 while at “The New York Times,” he was featured in a documentary about the newspaper, in which he voiced his support of Twitter as a news-gathering tool. Today, three years later, he is just as vocal, telling students who had questions to reach out to him at his Twitter handle, @BrianStelter.
Stelter is in Louisville to interview Alain de Botton this evening at 6 p.m. in the Kentucky Center for the Arts, as a part of U of L’s Kentucky Author Forum. De Botton is the author of “The News: A User’s Manual,” in which he blends modern news clippings with philosophical musings. Tickets to the event can be found for the next few hours at Kentuckycenter.org/Events/Alain-de-Botton/11618#tab-show-information-link