Join us for a panel discussion “A Message to My Younger Self” with five of our 40 under 40 nominees.
Friday, Sept. 10
10 a.m. • Studio 100
Due to limited capacity, reservations are required by Sept. 7 to email@example.com.
Guests are encouraged to wear facemasks.
Our College alumni represent seven of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40.
We are proud of their successes and are thrilled to highlight them in their own words.
Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08) is an anchor and reporter for 11 Alive News in Atlanta.
How has your field evolved since your graduation to now?
Bellamy: “Local television news has changed a lot since I graduated 13 years ago. Those changes seemed to accelerate almost as soon as I entered the field. Not only has digital content become a bigger part of a reporter’s role, but social media has become a major part of doing our job as well. Reporters are now expected to shoot, write, edit and present their stories, but they’re also often expected to write digital versions as well for their station’s website. Beyond that while you’re gathering content for a story, or otherwise going about your day, reporters and anchors are expected and encouraged to post on various social media sites. That can include the stories you’re working on that day or in the future, but also personal information as well. My company has also placed an emphasis on creative shooting and storytelling, as we look for more ways to engage our viewers. That can also involve using new technology, beyond a standard camera to capture video and sound. It can also mean finding innovative ways to use our editing tools. Our industry is constantly evolving.”
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Bellamy: “If I could give advice to my 20-year-old self, I’d say continue to be yourself, don’t doubt who you are and a no isn’t a never. It can be difficult not to compare your experience to that of others, especially in TV News, but I’d tell my younger self, and anyone reading this, that who you are is enough, and even when it feels like it isn’t, it might be for a good reason. That job, that opportunity, that position that you think is perfect, might not be for you! There’s something better out there that will reveal itself at the right time. That brings me to the “no isn’t a never,” a phrase that, for me, goes hand in hand with “one person’s ‘no’ might be someone else’s ‘yes’.” In life, the person making a hiring decision may not like something about you, but that might be the thing that lands you a position with someone else. Just because one new director doesn’t want to give you a shot, doesn’t mean another won’t. Always look for the right fit, at the right time and go with your gut — you can’t go wrong!”
Is there a piece of advice from one of your Grady College professors that still guides you today?
Bellamy: “My Grady professors were adamant about getting things right, being fair and leaving yourself out of the story. Those principles still guide me and our colleges throughout the journalism industry today, and always will. They’re even more important now in the age of social media and the internet, when people can post and publish inaccurate content, and the race to be first can lead to problems. People’s trust in journalism has been shaken lately, so clinging to those standards is the way to earn it back and be a true advocate for our audiences and communities.”
How has the network of Grady College alumni helped you professionally?
Bellamy: “The Grady College network of alumni has not only been a source of pride for me, since becoming a Grady Grad myself, but it’s also helped me along in my career. I can name several people who took the time to mentor and guide me in the process of trying to land my first job in TV News. Those same people were also there to help me try and advance my career when I looked to move to the next level as well. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have jobs where there was at least one fellow Grady Grad on the team. It’s great having someone like that to build an instant connection with, knowing they’ve had a similar experience to you and can be a source for guidance or support. It also doesn’t hurt having someone else to cheer on the Dawgs with, especially when you’re living outside of Georgia. Having had those interactions myself, I’ve tried to share that same experience and encouragement to current UGA students, recent Grady Grads, and new colleagues.”
What skill(s) should graduates and young alumni have for success early in their careers?
Bellamy: “Self-confidence, a willingness to learn and an ability to make connections are skills that I think graduates and young alumni should have for success. If I could do anything over in my career, it would be putting in more work into making connections within my industry and cultivating those relationships. Networking well with others opens so many doors for growth and career development, but you also make good friends and mentors along the way as well. It also drives your desire to give back and help the next generation, like others helped you.”