Mallie Kim is a political reporter for U.S. News & World Report--exactly the kind of position that young journalists move to Washington to pursue. She spends her days seeking comment from senators and congressmen, and reporting on the political drama of Capitol Hill.
Kim didn't always know she wanted to be a journalist. She once dreamed of a lifelong career as a teacher in Africa. She taught at a Malawi school after graduating, but quickly got homesick.
"I loved it, but realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever," she says. "Journalism is a career switch for me."
That path to reporting began after the California native made a spontaneous drive to Washington, DC. "I moved here basically on a whim. I wanted to learn more about international nonprofits and the Foreign Service, and mainly just check out a new place." She quickly decided she needed more education to compete in DC’s job market. Her then-fiancé was the one who convinced her to apply to Georgetown's Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program.
Kim entered Georgetown with no previous journalism experience. She says the program prepared her for the intense work that lay ahead. "My classes gave me the skills and confidence I needed to be dropped into an internship at a major media outlet and be able to, on my first day, write an article about the Arkansas Senate primary without completely freaking out."
That 13-month internship was at U.S. News & World Report, which she found through one of her professors, Linda Kramer Jenning. She says getting to know the instructors served her well, as did careful class selection. "I enjoyed and needed all my writing classes, but my video production classes introduced me to a new love. I did a short documentary for my capstone." That love for video journalism just might show up in her work portfolio soon. "I’m hoping to eventually combine shooting and editing video into my work as a reporter."
For current and prospective students of the program, she suggests giving the experience full attention and extra effort. "It sounds clichéd, but it’s true," she says. "You will get out of the program what you put into it. I feel like I got a lot more for my money by making a solid effort and taking my assignments seriously. I wasn’t just in it for a piece of paper that says I’m a master."