Alum Highlight: Julia Clancy
December was a busy month for Journalism student Julia Clancy—and not just because of the holidays.
December 8 was the last day of her internship on the Politics Desk of NBC News. Four days later, she started a new job, also at NBC, as a Desk Assistant for the Washington bureau.
And the next day, December 13, she presented her Capstone project—a video documentary on therapeutic horseback riding—thereby completing her master’s in Journalism in all of 18 months.
“It was all like a whirlwind,” Clancy said.
That might also describe her job at NBC, where she’s learning the business from some of the nation’s top journalists.
“Broadcast news is 24-7,” she said. “There’s no downtime.”
Clancy loves the fast pace; and she was well prepared for it at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, where she took classes from working professionals at national news organizations such as The Washington Post, Associated Press, and Bloomberg News.
Her writing class with Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga was especially helpful. “I thought I knew how to write in college,” she said. “but this was the best writing course I’ve ever had.”
After landing her internship through the Journalism program, Clancy spent much of the fall on the presidential campaign, transcribing speeches, town halls, and other appearances by the candidates’ surrogates. (“A lot of Ivanka, a lot of Chelsea, and a lot of Pence,” she said.) She then summarized key points and memorable soundbites for NBC’s reporters.
“I would love to be a reporter covering politics,” she said, “especially since I was able to see the political coverage firsthand while interning at NBC.”
Alum Highlight: Judy Kurtz
When George W. Bush came to the defense of the media after it was brazenly attacked by President Trump, the Fourth Estate all but swooned.
Wasn’t this the same media that spent eight years criticizing the former president for his treatment of the press corps? wondered Fox WTTG-TV anchor Neil Cavuto. So he turned to Judy Kurtz, one of the network’s Washington-based correspondents, and asked if she could explain what was going on.
Kurtz—TV commentator, newspaper columnist, and Georgetown Journalism graduate—was more than happy to explain, in words everyone would understand.
“It’s kind of like your ex-boyfriend showing up at the class reunion,” she said, letting that picture sink in. “Looking pretty good!”
Judy Kurtz is an entertainment reporter for The Hill (“Also, known as the gossip columnist,” she added.) And she learned much of what she needed to write her columns at Georgetown.
But isn’t that not as, well, important as, for example, covering global warming and the Republican’s tax plan?
“It’s the first thing people turn to when they open up the paper,” Kurtz said. Moreover, in this age of hyper-partisanship—when criticizing an opponent’s position can quickly lead to impugning his or her character—anything that reminds the public that politicians are people and not merely cutouts spouting opinions and policy positions is arguably a public service.
“It’s shining a light and showing, maybe, the human side of politics and politicians,” said Kurtz, who graduated from the program in 2015 and has returned to fulfill her dream of teaching the profession she loves. “I try to show the more lighthearted news that’s taking place on Capitol Hill.”
Alum Highlight: Paul Rigney
When North Korea launched a failed missile test on April 29, Paul Rigney got to witness the resulting political drama from a unique vantage point: Vice President Mike Pence’s plane.
The vice president’s jet, which had recently refueled in Alaska, was taking Pence and his aides on a five-nation tour of the Far East.
First stop: Seoul. Then a trip to the DMZ.
“It was a little unnerving,” said Rigney, a photographer for NBC News and 2010 graduate of Georgetown’s Journalism program.
Even so, it’s the kind of work Rigney loves: Not in an office. Not nine-to-five. A job where “you’re literally doing something different every day.”
“I think there’s some excitement in the unknown,” he said.
Rigney discovered broadcasting while a student at Notre Dame, where he worked on the college TV station. But how did he go from doing a college sports show with friends to reporting for one of the nation’s premier news organizations? The path went through Georgetown.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Rigney landed a job as a production assistant at C-SPAN. It was a good opportunity, but he was no longer behind the camera and worked mostly on scripts. He realized that to be more competitive he would need more training, so he applied to Georgetown, where veteran broadcasting and print journalists teach a wide array of practical skills.
“I can’t say enough about what Georgetown did for me,” Rigney said. “A lot of times in our profession, it’s trial by fire. It prepared me for the fire.”
Shortly after Rigney graduated from the program, C-SPAN promoted him to video journalist. He moved to NBC three years later.
Georgetown’s Jesuit philosophy emphasizes service to others rather than mere personal gain: That’s something that resonates with Rigney.
“It’s a very unselfish approach to our profession,” Rigney said, “and something I can continue to apply.”
See more alumni stories here.