Ask the Alumnus | Lora Strum

T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, VA

After first getting to know her as a high school student at T.C. Williams in nearby Alexandria, we loved having Lora back for a few months last year when she was hired as a NewsHour Shares news assistant following her graduation from Temple University. Now we’re overjoyed to have her back again as NewsHour’s new audience engagement specialist! Lora brings with her a considerable amount of experience and has big ideas for NewsHour’s online audience.

What have you been up to since your last SRL assignment?

My last SRL assignment was the video my class at T.C. Williams produced on how race had played out at our school in the years since the original “Remember the Titans” story took place there. That was nearly 5 years ago — so hard to believe! Since then, I graduated from Temple University’s School of Media & Communications where I earned my B.A. in Journalism and French in just three years. Going to school in Philly, I loved reporting on the Philadelphia School District for philadelphianeighborhoods.com, as well as copy editing for The Philadelphia Inquirer and reporting for Temple University’s Fox School of Business, the Army News Service and PoliticsPA.com. My absolute favorite moment in these whirlwind five years, however, was rejoining NewsHour last summer as one of the first science and social media news assistants. I loved working with the science and social teams and even met my roommate through the experience!

What are your professional goals going forward?

What I love to do is tell stories, and I can’t think of a better platform to do that than online — particularly on social media. Leveraging my news judgement and storytelling skills with my experience in public relations/social copywriting, I’m working to create stories for NewsHour’s Tumblr and Instagram as well as pitch the amazing work NewsHour produces to external media. This job really combines two things I love — producing content and branding — at the place where I love to work. I hope that moving forward I can help improve NewsHour’s online klout, build our audiences and really let the world know the great work this team produces.

How did SRL help you realize your professional goals?

I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was 14, but joining SRL at 16 showed me what the job truly entailed. I was stuck in the microcosm of high school journalism until my first day with SRL when Thai sent me and Allison McCartney out into the field to report on the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Being in that crowd, hearing the voices of kids barely older than me and being in charge of telling their story let me know that news was the ONLY thing I wanted to do. I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to have that epiphany so young, because that clarity allowed me to graduate college early, receive scholarships for my news work and really get a jumpstart into the news business that has landed me where I am today. This program essentially MADE my professional goals — and successes!

What experiences or lessons do you value most from your time with SRL?

The first thing Thai ever told me was to just show up with a notebook, and I still do that! The valuable lesson of being on-time, prepared and ready to tell stories is something that I use every day.