#ProfilesofTenacity: Julianna Washburn

#ProfilesofTenacity: Julianna Washburn

December 07, 2022

Fourth year journalism major Julianna Washburn has always had a passion for writing and telling stories. Through her work as the recruitment manager for The Red & Black, not only is she able to write amazing stories herself, but she also gets to help other aspiring journalists share their work with the world.

Why did you choose your major?

I have been in love with writing ever since I was eight years old — no joke. Come high school, I was drawn to the one newsroom in the building. I loved the blackboards that lined the walls with sporadic chalk writing, the fast-paced energy and the stacks of newspapers everywhere. As I grew older, I truly began to realize the impact that journalism makes on the world. That’s when I knew that there was nothing else I would rather be a part of than journalism and inevitably selected it as my major in college.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

There’s no way I can just name one! Dr. Assmann, Dr. Lough, Dr. Chiles and Dr. Peters are just a few professors that have made huge impacts on me. I’ve noticed that I refer back to the material I learned from each of these professors when I’m out in the field. Not only that, but they’ve made changed me personally. Dr. Assmann is sort of a mentor to me and always will be. She motivates me and makes me want to be a better, more hard-working journalist.

Washburn smiles with friends and co-workers at The Red & Black’s end of year banquet. (Photo/submitted)
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The Red & Black Newspaper. No doubt about it. It’s basically my whole life (I’m joking) but seriously, I’ve found a home within the words I’ve written for that publication. The people I’ve met through reporting and the people that contribute to the production of The Red & Black have impacted me in a way that I can’t describe — even as a writer. Every time I think about the late nights I spent at the newsroom to edit the Thursday paper or the early morning I spent immersed in reporting on the half marathon in Athens, my heart jumps just enough to remind me of how much love I’ve had for my time there.

What are you passionate about?
Washburn interned at KXAN News in Austin, Texas during the summer of 2022. (Photo/submitted)

I am passionate about telling stories. I absolutely revel in the process of asking one thousand questions, hearing others’ stories and getting to use creativity to put those stories into 1,000 words or less to share with others. This is how I knew I was meant to be a journalist. I found that every time I engaged in this process, I would get so lost in it. Hours began to feel like minutes and minutes like seconds. Every time I finish a story, I step back and feel so much joy in what I’ve been able to create.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

This is easier said than done but it’s crucial: do your best not to compare yourself to others. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It is so true. Throughout college and my internship, I found myself comparing my work to the work of others and it did nothing but make me feel completely disappointed in myself. Everyone has their own, very different path to success and it’s important to focus on yours and be proud of all that you’re doing. Side note: it’s also so important to be proud of others and their successes. Don’t forget that!

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I plan on going straight into the journalism field either working at a broadcast studio or writing for a publication! I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever to be fully immersed in the journalism field and I truly cannot wait any longer!

Washburn interviews Mary Whitehurst for a story she wrote about what kind of options pregnant people have now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Whitehurst is the executive director of The Source, a crisis pregnancy center in Austin, Texas.  (Photo/submitted)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself being intertwined in a community, reporting on the stories within it. I hope I am lifting up diverse voices and stories that otherwise wouldn’t have been heard or seen if I hadn’t reported on them. I see myself on the job, interviewing and moving with excitement during the day, then typing away at night to get my stories in. I see myself coming home at the end of the day feeling elated, fulfilled and ready for the next story.

What motivates you?

When people tell me that a story that I worked on impacted them in some way. Whether it be a message from a source I spoke to for the story or someone who read it, it always means the world to me to get a message like that. That’s what the stories I work on are meant to do — teach people, impact them, create change. When I get a message like that, I know I’ve done my job and it motivates me to do even better work on the next story.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Unashamedly be yourself. Quirks and all. It’s easy to feel like you should have a certain image in order to get a job or fit in but really, you will end up where you’re happiest by being yourself throughout the entire journey in getting there. Not only that but you will leave your unique mark on people by being completely yourself. That being said, explore who you are. Go to therapy, journal, relish in alone time. You are with yourself for your entire life so it’s important to become best friends with that person and to show them some love!

Washburn poses for a picture with her Red & Black co-workers during their annual flag football game. (Photo/submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment this past year has been serving as the Recruitment Manager for The Red & Black. R&B helped me become the journalist I am today and it means the world to be able to help others take their first steps in their journeys there. It’s also very rewarding to be able to see the accomplishments of new recruits and to help bring more journalists into this world! We need them!