UW-Eau Claire and CJ Department Alumna, Ginna Roe, went to Selma, Alabama last March to report a story she felt needed to be told. The story, Wisconsin to Selma: Bringing History Home, is what won Roe a Midwest Regional Emmy Award this past year. Here is what she had to say about her experience, along with some advice for current CJ majors:
What have you been doing since you graduated from UW-Eau Claire?
I graduated in May of 2014 and I have been working in La Crosse at WXOW-TV as a multimedia journalist.
How has the CJ department at UW-Eau Claire prepared you for your current position?
The CJ department definitely prepared me to work as a reporter. My professors taught me how to ask all the right questions. They taught me to follow my curiosity and believe in my instincts. And of course, they taught me how to write as journalist. What makes a strong lead, A.P. style and so forth.
Tell me more about the Wisconsin to Selma: Bringing History Home story and your work in Selma (and your Emmy award!):
In March of last year I traveled to Selma, Ala. for the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Somehow I convinced my bosses to send me down there all by myself. Well, I wasn’t entirely by myself. Once I got there I actually met up with Jan Larson and her journalism students. They were nice enough to let me stay with them.
While there I interviewed all sorts of people from the original foot soldiers who marched in Bloody Sunday 50 years prior, to an organization I believe is truly leading the movement of today, the Freedom Foundation. I completed three pieces, one that was reflective of the movement back then and the actual events of Bloody Sunday, another that was about the city of Selma and where it is now, that includes all of the poverty and disparity that still exist in Selma. And the third was about the future of Selma and the Civil Rights Movement and how a young man from Wisconsin is helping to lead that movement.
What inspired you to work on that project?
My inspiration began at UWEC when I went on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. I was changed as person on that trip and it really helped ignite a passion within me.
Do you have any favorite courses or experiences from UW-Eau Claire that have influenced your work?
Once again I would say the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. It opened to my eyes to injustices I had never recognized before and me want to do my part to fight back against those injustices.
Do you have any advice for students graduating as they are entering the working world?
It may not be easy. Your first job may not be what you expected necessarily but if you are doing work that you are passionate about, keep going!
For more information about past Civil Rights Pilgrimage trips, check out the UWEC Civil Rights Pilgrimage Blog!
Alumni: What were your most influential experiences from UW-Eau Claire? Let us know in the comments!