Howard University broadcast news major Kierra Jones is one of 12 students selected for Meredith-Cronkite Minority Fellowship Program in January at Arizona State University. She is the second Howard student chosen for the program that accepts applications from across the nation.
“This program is taking ordinary students who work in their field with blood, sweat and tears every day,” said Jones. “I don’t just see this as an opportunity for me to put together a 30-minute news program, or create my resume reel, but, this is something that is going to be with me for the rest of my life.” Jones will receive hands-on training from industry professionals at Phoenix’s KPHO television station during the week-long program that begins on Jan 6. She and the other fellowship winners will produce a 30-minute newscast working alongside the CBS station’s editors and producers and instructors from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Jones was awarded a $2,000 stipend toward the cost of travel and expenses.
“[I am] a young lady who came from a small school at North Carolina Wesleyan College to get hands-on experience and I had no experience really, except for working with my church’s media ministry operating a camera,” Jones said.
Jones began honing her craft by working at Howard University’s television station, WHUT, as a student reporter and then supervising production manager. Her work at WHUT led to internships at Baltimore’s WMAR-TV and WBAL-TV.
Jones said she became interested in broadcast news after a traumatic incident in elementary school. “In sixth grade this young lady said to me, ‘Why do you talk like that?’ From that point on I felt so bad about how I spoke, but then I started thinking about it some more and I said, ‘you know what, I’m going to use my voice to inform people about what’s going on around them.’ … I started watching the news and this one woman, Sade Baderinwa, she was just so articulate and poised and her presentation was just so amazing and I said, ‘Hey I can do that.’
The testimonials of last year’s fellows are displayed on the Cronkite School web site. “This is a one of a kind experience. Only the best and brightest student journalists should have an experience like this…It was unbelievable!” said one fellow. “An internship times infinity! The closest experience to a professional newsroom a student has access to. It was fabulous!” said another.
The program, which is in its second year, is open to full-time minority students majoring in broadcast journalism who are within 12 months of graduation.