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Alumni

Megan Walburn

Class of 2007
Major/Minor
English

She’s the woman breaking the news at WJZ-TV Baltimore.

Describe what you do.

I oversee production of the 11 p.m. newscast each night. The day begins around 3:30 p.m. with selecting stories and assigning reporters to cover the biggest stories of the day. My team creates a news rundown, balancing local and national news, and revises it as new things develop. I’m constantly monitoring Twitter, e-mail, news websites and police scanners for fresh news. I proofread the scripts written for the anchors, check that video is cut correctly, and add graphics to make the show more visual. While we are live on air, I watch to make sure reporters are in place, video & audio are working, and the various segments stay on time. When the show is over at 11:35 pm, I’m held responsible for any mistakes that were seen or heard by the viewers at home.

How do you handle the stress?

I train for marathons. It’s strangely similar to producing the news.

Did you grow up wanting to work in television?

I never thought I’d find myself working in this field; I was more attracted to print journalism, and had hoped to work for a magazine after graduation. I never thought the fast pace of news and the weighty subject matter would appeal to me. Now, I feel like I’m doing something significant in my city.

What skills did you acquire that turned out to be relevant?

Writing skills! Ninety percent of the TV producers and reporters I work with have a broadcast journalism degree. But my English degree and strong writing skills have carried me through and allowed me to advance. Communication is the best building block; the rest comes from learning on the job. 

What college experience changed your view of the world?

The Kiplin Hall summer trip abroad with Dr. Gillin. We hiked the English and Scottish mountains that inspired the Romantic poets to write their most influential works… and studied those works from the top of those mountains. The experience made me realize how large the world is, and how an experience can often teach much more than a classroom lecture can.

Who were your college mentors?

Dr. Richard Gillin, for the reasons mentioned above. Prof. Bob Day, for his creative, expansive outlook. And Prof. Terry Scout, for his practical approach to the work world.

What is your favorite college memory?

Rowing on the crew team. Rowers love their sport enough to wake up at 5 a.m., on freezing cold March mornings, to train and race. I still appreciate the hard work and lasting friendships. As team captain, I was able to develop my own leadership style—something I use every day as a news manager.

Were you the beneficiary of scholarship aid?

Yes, I received a merit-based scholarship based on my GPA and my National Honor Society membership.

Why should alumni support Washington College?

To give other young people the same unique experience we got: a well-rounded liberal arts education in a beautiful waterfront town. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Cater Society Of Junior Fellows Research

I am an English major at Washington College concentrating on journalism, and I applied for a grant from the Cater Society of Junior Fellows to participate in a Study Abroad program for the summer of 2005. The Kiplin Hall program, led by English department chair Richard Gillin, followed the 19th century Romantic poets through England’s Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.

The program could be considered any English major’s fantasy, but I had a specific objective in mind to gain from Kiplin Hall, which I proposed to the Junior Fellows: “Only through the unique combination of lecture and experiencing the homelands of the poets first-hand can we see both the technical aspects of Romantic poetry and its meaning found in Nature. At the end of my study, I plan to be able to demonstrate the link between the study of poetry and effective contemporary journalism.”

By examining the Romantics’ poetic devices and story-telling techniques, and by immersing myself in their foreign culture, I gained the skills and confidence to spend the rest of my summer freelance writing for Chesapeake Bay Magazine, my school year editing college publications, and in the future, to contribute to society with better communication of news and information to the public readership.