Interview With Samantha Jonas
Samantha Jonas is a Communications major with a concentration in journalism at Adelphi University in Long Island, New York. She has interned at the Fox News Channel, is a reporter for the Delphian campus newspaper, and has been published for her articles at Foxnews.com. Find out how she started her career, as well as how she plans to continue it.
SJ: - Samantha Jonas | WTW: - When Teens Write
WTW: So, Samantha, what gives you the drive and ambition?
SJ: I have this drive inside of me that wonít let me quit. It is constantly pushing me to do better, tackle more serious stories, and improve as a writer. Right now I am not completely satisfied with my writing, and that is what keeps me moving forward.
WTW: What persuaded you to go into journalism?
SJ: I was somewhat of a bookworm as a child, except when the other kids where reading Goosebumps I was reading Gone with the Wind and Flowers for Algernon. I just loved being able to see the world from different perspectives. As I got older I realized that so many people know so little about the world in which they live, which is a shame to me. What persuaded me to go into journalism was the fact it would enable me to open up peopleís eyes to problems and conditions that might have gone unnoticed. I wanted to give a voice to those who were left unheard. It kind of felt like my moral duty.
WTW: How has being a journalist at this point in your life prepared you for the future?
SJ: Being a college journalist has defiantly prepared me for the real world. There are certain aspects of the business you canít learn in a classroom. The only way you can learn it is through experience. The only way you can become a better writer is by writing as often as possible. The school paper is the perfect outlet to hone your writing skills.
When I started college I hesitated to join the paper out of fear that I was a poor writer and would embarrass myself. I took writing classes and learned the basics on how to report but my confidence wasnít very high. It wasnít till the end of my freshman year that I got involved in my schoolís paper. My Writing for Newspapers professor encouraged me to turn in a story that I had written for class about the head of Adelphiís security department. After that, I began writing two to three stories an issue and the following semester I took over as Features editor. I just needed that little push to get me started.
WTW: Did you write prior to college?
SJ: I wrote a few times for my high school paper. I wish I had been more involved in high school, but one of the editors had a crush on me and would write me long emails and call me at my house all the time. It creeped me out, so I distanced myself, which was a mistake, but oh well. I made up for it in the past few years.
WTW: What do you love most about writing? What feeling does it give you?
SJ: What I love most about writing is the fact you can totally get lost in it. You can be whoever you want to be. You can say whatever you want to say. There are no restraints. No limits. I love that. I love sitting in front of a computer and not thinking about what I want to say. I let my fingers lead me, and sometimes they lead me to very deep places.
WTW: When did you actually start writing?
SJ: I started writing poetry in 8th grade. I had this English teacher who made us write a poem in our journals every time we came into class. It wound up being one of my most rewarding experiences of my life. It let me say all the things that I kept inside and shutoff to the world. It set me free. Iíve been writing poetry ever since.
WTW: How does it feel to see your articles published?
SJ: I get such a thrill when my articles are published. It is like a natural high. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something. That I am not sitting back and letting my life pass me by.
WTW: Tell me about your Fox News Channel internship.
SJ: Last summer I interned at Foxnews.com. It was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the business as well as about myself as a writer. The fact they published several of my articles made me think, ďWell if Fox likes my writing I must not be half bad.Ē Thatís a good feeling.
WTW: What inspires you?
SJ: I am inspired by so many things. It can be a book I read or a song I heard. Things that touch me inspire me to write. Life experiences inspire me. I am currently finishing a screenplay called Straight Up with a Twist which is loosely based on people I have known. I have also began working on a yet to be titled screenplay for a romantic comedy.
I donít want to waste my life away. You only have one life to live and I believe you should make the most of it. That is what motivates me. I donít want to let life pass me by. I want to be someone and I want to contribute something. What else is life about? Shopping? Please!
WTW: Any role models?
SJ: My greatest role model is my aunt Rita. She is an amazing person. She is smart and beautiful and totally no-nonsense. Iím telling you, if everyone had an Aunt Rita, the world would be a much more productive place. Just watching her in business can inspire you to want to achieve something. She has this magnetic energy and zest for life. But what I love most about her is that she has a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back. She is the kind of person I aspire to be.
WTW: How do you feel about the direction journalism had taken in general?
SJ: Iím not all together pleased with the so called unbiased journalism on the major television networks. I think a lot of TV journalists care more about their ratings than presenting a story in its entirety. But thatís not to say there arenít very good examples of journalism out there. I am a fan of Newsweek. I think they are the epitome of an ethical news publication.
WTW: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
SJ: In five years from now I see myself in on Dateline, NBC, or CNN. I have this itch to go into broadcasting, mostly because I think a lot of people, unfortunately, get their information from the television instead of newspapers. The larger the audience, the more of an impact I can make. But I would still write. I have to. Writing is like breathing to me. Once I get myself settled then Iíd think about settling down.
WTW: Whatís your status at school?
SJ: I am ahead a semester so I will be graduated in Fall 2004.
WTW: Any advice for our visitors?
SJ: Advice: Never be satisfied with your work. Always realize there is room for improvement. And when people tell you that you canít do something, prove them wrong!
Questions by site director, Garett R. Nadrich
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