#ProfilesofTenacity: Julianna Washburn

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!

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Sydney Hood

Journalism major Sydney Hood balances her time at Grady with working as a weekend multimedia journalist for WRDW/WAGT News 12 NBC 26. She also serves as the president of DiGamma Kappa Broadcast Society, works as a senior production manager for Grady Newsource, is a reporter for the Newsource election show, and she writes for the Cox Institute’s Covering Poverty Initiative.

What does tenacity mean to you?

Being tenacious is all about stepping up to the plate when life knocks you down. It’s working for the life you’ve always dreamed of despite criticism and hardships. It’s embracing the uncomfortableness and facing adversity head-on. Tenacity means being fearless in pursuing what sets you apart from the rest and finding what makes YOU special. 

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

Do not take yourself too seriously. Take your job seriously, but not yourself. I am a ridiculously goofy person. I cut up and laugh (cackle actually) at every little (and silly) mistake and stay optimistic about the obstacles. When it comes to spaces with rules (school, work, meetings), my quiet, no-nonsense side creeps out. I practice rigorous self-judgment and hold myself to the highest of high standards. It’s an approach that robs me of the peace that comes with self-acceptance and celebrating those smaller but just as big goals. I am slowly realizing that not taking myself seriously allows for people to see the real, genuine me. The silly, quirky, hardworking and determined me. The human in me. It’s a practice I am constantly improving on everyday, but I believe that loosening up on yourself allows for exploration and change.

Sydney doing a liveshot on camera, holding a microphone and pointing to a group of people at a health fair
Sydney was a “future focus” intern for WRDW/WAGT News 12 NBC 26 this summer in Augusta. (Photo:submitted)
Why did you choose your major?

I’ve always had an itch for writing – whether it was an essay for school or an entry in my journal. I am a naturally curious (borderline nosey) person. I love history. I enjoy digesting new information and the ability I have to captivate one’s attention by explaining this information. With all of this said, journalism was always in the back of my head growing up. As a soft-spoken and shy person afraid to leave her comfort zone, I didn’t think this was possible for me. Ultimately I let that fear get to me and abandoned my dream. I started college as a biology major and it took a mid-semester crisis (and UGA chemistry) my freshman year to realize that was not for me. Ultimately, sitting in the middle of my dorm room crying my eyes out because I didn’t know what to do with my life, I pulled myself together and finally declared myself as a journalism major. I always look back and think of this as an “ah-ha” moment because it was truly  the first time I really walked out of my comfort zone. It really is true that nothing good comes from staying in your comfort zone. I’ve realized my passion for storytelling was far bigger than my fear of not succeeding. Grady has shown me that journalism is much, much more than writing and telling stories. This place has taught me – and continues to teach me – how I can go from good to great and be the best in my field. Long story short, I am forever grateful 18-year-old Sydney took a leap of faith.  

What motivates you?

I am motivated by my constant fear of being just average. I do not want to go through life feeling like I had all this potential and never touched or used it. I always strive to be intentional in everything I do. I am also motivated by the word “can’t.” I am often told I can’t handle everything I am involved in from school to work and everything in between. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I make it my mission to not only do it, but do it better. 

Students gather for a group picture outside a building in Copenhagen
Sydney says her most memorable Grady experience was going on the travel writing program to Copenhagen. (Photo: R. Vassileva)
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

This past summer, I lived in Copenhagen for a month and studied travel journalism with some pretty amazing people. To say this was an experience I’ll never forget in quite the understatement. I tested all of my creative outlets, pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and opened my eyes to understand the flow of global news. This trip also instilled in me some practical knowledge of solutions journalism: what it is, what it is not and the importance of this type of journalism. All of this I still carry with me and will continue to do so beyond my career at Grady.

What are you passionate about?

I love putting a story together, hearing what people are passionate about and understanding what drives them. The people you meet and speak to are the ones who create and tell the story. It’s exciting to connect with people, listen to their extraordinary stories and provide a voice for them. I am always amazed at how a simple idea at a 9:30 a.m. pitch meeting formulates into a 6 p.m. story with real people and real life impact. 

What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?

Every time I am out in the field or in the newsroom, I always think back to the tips from various professors. The “SWEFF” checklist from Professor Shumway is tattooed in my brain. “Write to the video you have and not the video you wish you had,” from Professor Cantrell is something I have to remind myself each time I sit down to write a script. I learned all the fundamentals in the classroom, but it is outside of the classroom where I put all of my tools into practice and learn beyond the walls of Grady. Before Grady, I did not know how to shoot video. I didn’t know how to white balance or frame a camera. I didn’t know where to find sources or how to find people. I’d never published a story before. Now, I shoot, write and edit all on my own. 

Sydney gets footage of a pony
Sydney gets footage of a pony while working on a story for WRDW/WAGT about how the Aiken Equine Horse Rescue was able to recover after a fire. (Photo:submitted)
Who is your professional hero?

Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, Judy Woodruff, Barabara Walters – all for the obvious reasons.  

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I do not have it together all the time. I am bad about putting up a perfect front and acting like I have all of my ducks lined up in a row (when in fact a lot of them are at the bottom of the  pond). It is important to share the lows in life just as much as we share the highs. College is hard. Work is hard. Life is hard. And that is all okay. Sure you are going to have days where you are stressed and overwhelmed. But in the end trust that it is going to all be okay.  

I also enjoy running (like, a lot). Everyday I set aside at least one hour for a run – rain or shine, day or night. I do this not only for my physical health, but also for my mental health. It’s the one time in my day I can clear my head and step away from reality. I ran my first 5k when I was six and haven’t stopped since. I trained for and ran two full marathons before graduating high school (for the awkward 12-year-old Sydney who couldn’t run a mile without crying, this was (and still is) a big deal for her). I also love a good half-marathon – I signed up for one out of the blue while studying abroad in Copenhagen to get familiar with the city (I still needed to use Google Maps afterwards to find my way around the city but it was worth a try!). 

 

Deborah Roberts (ABJ ’82) honored with DiGamma Kappa Distinguished Achievement Award

DiGamma Kappa, Grady College’s national broadcast society, is presenting renowned journalist Deborah Roberts (ABJ ’82) with its annual Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting Award.

The award, which is usually presented in person at the annual DiGamma Kappa and Georgia Association of Broadcasters joint banquet, will be presented virtually for the first time in its history on February 24 at 7 p.m.

Deborah Roberts is interviewed by Sydney Shadrix of DGK for a Facebook Live broadcast before a 2019 panel discussion with fellow alumni and professional journalists.

“Deborah Roberts is an inspiration to young journalists like us,” said Molly English, the president of DiGamma Kappa. “It’s an honor to be able to present this award to her for her outstanding work in our field.”

Roberts is an award-winning Senior National Affairs Correspondent for ABC News’ “20/20,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America” and “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir.”

The Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award is presented by DiGamma Kappa and is co-sponsored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and Grady College. Former honorees include Wolf Blitzer, Barbara Walters and Charlayne-Hunter Gault.

Founded in 1939, DiGamma Kappa is the nation’s oldest broadcast journalism society. It strives to promote networking opportunities for its members and prepare them for their careers after Grady while encouraging a high quality of broadcast journalism.

The banquet will be available to watch on the College’s Facebook and YouTube channels February 24 at 7 p.m.

Caroline Beasley to receive Distinguished Achievement Award

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s national broadcast society, DiGamma Kappa, will present Caroline Beasley with its annual Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award.

The award will be presented Jan. 25 at DiGamma Kappa’s annual awards banquet at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries and is co-sponsored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and Grady College.

Beasley, a graduate from the University of North Carolina, currently serves as the chief executive officer of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc.

Since joining the company in 1983, Beasley has served as director, executive vice president, chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary. She also currently serves as joint board chair of the National Associate of Broadcasters and is the past chairman of the NAB Radio Board.

Beasley has been recognized by numerous awards such as the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and the 2012 Frances Preston Trailblazer Award from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.

In addition, in 2017 she was honored by Radio Ink magazine as Radio Executive of the Year and was named one of the 40 Most Powerful People in Radio in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017.

The Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award is presented by DiGamma Kappa. Previous winners include Tony Barnhart (2017), David Chandley (2016) and Amy Robach (2015).

DiGamma Kappa celebrates its 78th anniversary this year.  It is the nation’s oldest student broadcast society and was founded at Grady College. DiGamma Kappa encourages student participation in all phases of production for television and radio and fosters professional competence among its members.  It also strives to promote a high quality of broadcast journalism while adhering to outstanding ethical standards.

Tony Barnhart recognized with DiGamma Kappa Distinguished Achievement Award

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s national broadcast society, DiGamma Kappa, presented Tony Barnhart, also known as “Mr. College Football,” with its annual Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award.

The award was presented Feb. 24 at DiGamma Kappa’s annual awards banquet at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

“Tony embodies the passion and the dedication that we all strive for,” said Daniel Bignault, director of development for DiGamma Kappa. “Thank you, Tony, for inspiring us and being such an incredible role model that we can look up to and follow.”

Tony Barnhart, also known as Mr. College Football, recently completed his 41st year of covering college football for newspapers, radio, television and the internet.

He has also written five books about college football, including “Dooley: My 40 Years at Georgia” and “From Herschel to a Hobnail Boot: The Life and Times of Larry Munson.”

Barnhart, a former national college football writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is currently a college football analyst on the SEC Network and is an active blogger with Gridironnow.com and through his website TonyBarnhart.com. He has also been a contributing reporter for “College Football Today” for CBS Sports and was the host of “The Tony Barnhart Show,” on the CBS Sports network.

Barnhart spoke about his journey and told the audience that everyone's journey is not going to be a straight line.
Barnhart spoke about his journey and told the audience that everyone’s journey is not going to be a straight line.

“Being a journalist was the furthest thing from my mind when I went to college,” Barnhart admitted during his comments at the awards ceremony. “I was going to be a football coach. I loved football from the minute I walked into Sanford Stadium in 1965.”

Among his numerous honors are the Bert McGrane Award given by the Football Writers Association of America and the Furman Bisher Award for Media Excellence given by the Atlanta Sports Council. He was inducted into the Grady College Fellowship in Spring 2016.

Barnhart provided a collection of advice to the students about listening to smart people, dressing professionally, being over-prepared and arriving early.

He also offered advice about keys to being a good journalist.

“Always be skeptical; never be cynical,” Barnhart said. “You’ve got to be curious. You can’t be in this business without being curious. Skepticism opens doors and gets to the truth and to what you need. Cynicism is lazy and close-minded…and, it’s almost always wrong.”

His final insight, and what he called the most important, was inspired by Grady College Dean Charles Davis.

“When we get it right and stick to the fundamentals, we are not the enemy of the people,” he concluded. “We are their servants and it is our honor to serve.”

Barnhart frequently connects with students, speaking regularly in Grady Sports Media certificate classes and other events.
Barnhart frequently connects with students, speaking regularly in Grady Sports Media certificate classes and other events.

The Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award is presented by DiGamma Kappa and is co-sponsored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and Grady College. Previous winners include David Chandley (2016), Amy Robach (2015), and Gale Anne Hurd (2013).

DiGamma Kappa celebrates its 78th anniversary this year.  It is the nation’s oldest student broadcast society and was founded at Grady College.  DiGamma Kappa encourages student participation in all phases of production for television and radio, and fosters professional competence among its members.  It also strives to promote a high quality of broadcast journalism while adhering to outstanding ethical standards.