Sara Robertson is in charge of broadcast and digital production at PBS in Austin. She wants to increase representation in the field and believes young graduates should experiment with their storytelling. (photo provided, graphic by Sam Perez).
Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Sara Robertson (ABJ ’99)
We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.
Sara Robertson (ABJ ‘99) has an extensive background in production for broadcast and digital platforms. As Senior Vice President for Production at Austin PBS, she is responsible for strategic planning and execution of station produced content. Robertson has increased community impact through programming, grown national audiences for locally produced and presented shows and developed a digital-first production strategy. Before coming to public media, she worked in broadcast news.
Robertson is active in her community and is the vice chair of the board of directors for CLOVES Syndrome Community, whose mission is to support, educate, empower and improve the lives of those affected by CLOVES Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by tissue overgrowth and complex vascular anomalies. She also serves on the Grady Society Alumni Board.
In 1999 she received her degree in Telecommunication Arts from the University of Georgia. Sara and her family live in Austin, Texas and enjoy exploring the outdoors.
Why are you involved with the GSAB?
I was inspired to join the GSAB after a reunion trip to Athens. I had been living in Austin for 20 years and was finding it harder and harder to stay connected to my Georgia roots. At the same time, I was exploring ways to volunteer in an area of media, education and/or mentorship. The GSAB helps me fulfil these goals and more, including introducing me to an inspiring network of colleagues.
What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?
If you are a communicator, often your role is to be a translator of ideas and issues. I would encourage you to take classes on different topics. Experiment with storytelling and media platforms. Feel free to explore your interests and find new interests. Hopefully college won’t be the end of your education but just the beginning. Embrace learning now and it will make you a better communicator forever.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
Hands down my biggest influence and fondest memories from Grady College are from my time at NewSource15. I have incredible friendships to this day and still have a lot of pride from the work we did during that time. I was also extremely prepared for the workforce and was hired on my first two jobs because of the reel and experience I had gained.
What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?
Everyone working in media has a responsibility to put representation at the forefront of their work. There continues to be a lack of diversity in all aspects of our industry, on camera and behind. When communities don’t see themselves represented, they disengage and bad things happen from there. Representation is empowering and necessary for journalism to succeed.
How has your field changed from your graduation to now?
The media world is nothing without constant change but social media has transformed my field. Individuals no longer need to rely on broadcasters or a company with an established audience to promote their message, they are able to do that themselves with tools that are very affordable if not free. I believe that means building trust with our audience is more crucial than ever.