While Skylar Nicholson participated in Grady Newsource last semester, she currently works part time at Georgia Public Broadcasting as an associate digital producer working on a variety of different shows and platforms. She is currently working on the show Lawmakers. (Photos: Submitted)
#GradyGrit: Meet Skylar Nicholson
What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Grady Newsource. Period. There is nothing else like this experience. This experience helped me prepared for what the industry is really like. From quick day turns, to longer form pieces, social elements, and digital articles, this class really covered the gamut in different ways to get the news to the public. I am thankful for an environment where it was ok to try new things and for it to not always work out. This provided a safe place for innovation.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself before you began taking Grady classes?
To trust the process of how Grady works. Over your time at Grady, you will go through many challenges that push you out of your comfort zone. It is during those times that you are molded into not only a stronger journalist, but also a more diverse person ready to take on any obstacle that life might throw at you. Take advantage of office hours and really get to know your professors. They are willing to help you achieve your crazy dreams and sometimes help you see a path that you might have thought didn’t exist. Grady is your oyster and you get out of the program what you put into it. Come early. Leave late. And make the most of the time that you have at Grady. It is truly a special place.
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?
My time at UGA has been filled with lots of great mentors. It would be hard to choose just one person within Grady that has had the largest impact on me. From making it through Dr. Soloski’s intro to journalism class, to studying abroad with Dr. Rhodes, Communication Law with Dr. Peters (and finding a passion for copyright and first amendment law), to learning how to tell stories through data visualizations from Dr. Bright, and learning how a real news room operates with Prof. Vassileva and Prof. Cantrell. These were just some of the moments and mentors that shaped me in Grady. I am thankful that Grady is comprised of an amazing, diverse conglomerate of industry professionals.
The Cox Institute is where I have found my home within Grady. Here I have been pushed to become a stronger leader, have had room to innovate with new technology, question industry standards, and through networking opportunities gain countless industry connections. Through the Levin Leaders program, I was taught what traits were needed to be a strong leader. These are lifelong skills that are applicable to any future workplace environment. Through the mobile news lab program, I embarked on an investigative piece that had to be shot, edited, written and compiled entirely on an iPhone. This was a challenge and helped me really gain an appreciation for technology and the specialty applications that exist within the industry. And through the Morris Media fellowship, I was able to be placed at Newsy, an organization that helped me see where the industry is going and where I could end up one day.
What are you planning to do after graduating with a Grady degree?
To help tell the stories of the world. I know that I want to be a journalist, out in the community, asking questions, and helping tell other people’s stories. The type of medium doesn’t matter a whole lot to me as long as the content is able to be absorbed in an easy way for consumers. The world of journalism is evolving, and I am so excited to be embarking on a career in the industry prepared with the knowledge that Grady has instilled in me.
What is your most memorable internship experience?
Getting to ask President Trump a question at a press briefing at the White House.
On the last day of my internship I was supposed to go and shadow another reporter at the White House, but he was unable to go. Disappointed, but understanding, I thought I wouldn’t be able to go without him. Surprisingly, his photographer said that we could still go on with the day. My supervisor said to prepare three questions, but not to expect to get to ask anything.
Standing in line to enter the Rose Garden, surrounded by veteran journalists, it was a moment I will never forget. These were some of the best journalists in the industry there ready to ask the hard questions. It was an honor to be surrounded by them and shadow them.
A journalist in front of me turned and said, “When did they start allowing kids into these briefings?” This immediately made me question my qualifications on being in that type of environment. But I quickly came to a revelation that I was prepared through the training that Grady has provided.
After standing my ground in this press conference, asking a question to President Trump, I feel like I can ask anyone a question.
Question to President Trump
Favorite Peabody winner?
Christiane Amanpour. The way that she covers the world’s largest stories is something that I look up to. The honesty and risks that she takes to represent the truth in the world around us embodies some of the best attributes a journalist should have, I believe.
What is your dream job?
To be a national political correspondent.
Judy Woodruff. She is known for being a powerful female leader. From her start in Atlanta covering the Georgia legislature, to later covering all things politics in D.C., her career and impact is something I look up to and admire. I got to meet her when I was 17 at an Atlanta Press Club event. That evening will be forever ingrained into my head. She spoke to the fact of standing for your truth and the power in telling stories straight from the facts in an honest perspective.
Favorite Athens restaurant?
Mama’s Boy for sure. There is something very special about meeting up with friends and having a late brunch on the weekends. This restaurant was the location where lots of wonderful memories happened over the last three years. AND the peach French toast, there is nothing else like in the world. This Georgia peach can’t get enough of this place!
Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
For other installments in the #GradyGrit series, visit the #GradyGrit page.