What did you major/minor in at the University of Oregon? How would you describe your time at UO and when did you graduate?
I graduated from the UO with a degree in journalism in 2013. I definitely enjoyed my time on campus and with the J-school. I think they really pushed an interdisciplinary mindset, which I initially scoffed at as a student, but now that I’m this trained journalist/ advertising copywriter/ aspiring photographer I appreciate it a lot more. Really encouraged me to activate the curiosity, research and craft across any and everything I do. Guess Gateway wasn’t so bad after all, haha.
Describe your career path, so far. Where are you working now and what are is your title?
So after I graduated from the University of Oregon, my partner Kwaku Beké and I worked at an ad agency where we created some pretty cool work for Beats by Dre. That was kind of our launching point. From there, we’ve been able to work on projects with Google, Adidas and such. Along the way, I randomly got into photography. Which was something I never guessed I'd enjoy, but it's really became like my biggest passion.
Today I'm mostly doing freelance copywriting work around the ad industry, but the bigger picture goal now is to figure out how to make more of a living off of my photography work, as well as working with Kwaku and another partner on trying to get this filmmaking/creative community idea off the ground.
How do you think your time at the Daily Emerald prepared you for the job you have now?
Being a creative in advertising is kind of a crazy existence. You're this facilitator of so many different realms of work. From writing, to design, to video editing, to sound design, to color correction and even things like experiential design. There's so many different aspects of completing a job that you simply can't do everything on your own. So you're working with like 10-15 experts from each profession. They do most of the execution, but you have to manage the vision as well as learning the various different languages and rules of these professions enough that you can communicate feedback and be able to evaluate what's working and what can be better.
I think being the editor at the paper really prepared me for this role. Managing editors, copyeditors, reporters, columnists, and photographers taught me how to see something holistically. And how to wear a lot of different hats at once.
Describe your fondest memory relating to your time at the Daily Emerald
I think my favorite memory was when the Oregon State Board of Higher Education decided to fire president Richard Lariviere. out of nowhere, this newsroom of students, who still had their courses, their homework and all the other things that make college life so demanding, were suddenly at the heart of the biggest story in our state and all of higher education.
Watching everyone step up so passionately, occasionally scooping the big dogs, made me really realize just how special that time in my life was. After we all endured that, the newsroom really felt like a big family. We knew that if things got crazy, we could count on each other to get through it.
Tell us about a time you managed a project at the Emerald. What was the process and the outcome?
Well, everyday was a different project. The year I was editor was the last year the Emerald was a daily newspaper, so we had to fill that bad boy up 5 days a week. In retrospect, I'm really not sure how we did it. Hahaha.
How do you stay in touch with the team you worked with at the Emerald? Is there anyone you’d like to reconnect with?
Oh, man. Most of my best friends from college are people who worked with me on the paper. I talk with someone from the newsroom probably every single day. I'd love to one day put together an Emerald reunion. Maybe I'll bother Kathy and Ryan Frank about helping me make it happen, haha.
If you had the opportunity to speak to current student journalists at the Emerald what would you say to them?
I would just say embrace this time and enjoy it. Everyday won't be easy, mistakes will definitely be made and deadlines will be missed. But everyone who I know in journalism tells me how this was their favorite newsroom they ever worked in. The young energy, the optimism, the silliness, the friendships. Everyone here is just trying to figure out this whole "professional journalist" thing. I've always been so proud to be a part of this legacy.
I hope the quote wall is still a thing. If it's not, I'm willing and able to come to campus to teach these aspiring young journalists the importance of documenting all the bizarre, strange things that you'll overhear in a college newsroom.