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bobbie brinkley writing for student media

A Hero's Journey

You could argue Bobbie Brinkley's time at USC will be defined by her drive to craft compelling stories. Her resume proves it. Her time spent with Comedy Central proves it. But what won't find its way into a personal statement or a bullet point, is the feeling of uncertainty when faced with changing her major.

It's a shared and common feeling among students. For Bobbie, it came when she faced a struggle most broadcast journalism student experience—learning the prerequisite production skills.

And while this can be a deterrent, it never affected how the mass communications major chose to pursue her interest—one she realized when reporting the news to her fellow classmates in elementary school.

"I always knew I wanted to report the news in some way, shape or form. Even though it has changed a bit - when people ask what I major in - I still say journalism, but focused more on writing."

The First Step

Bobbie started at Carolina as a transfer student. Her first goal was to find organizations where she could get experience writing the types of stories she wanted to tell. She soon found it with Student Media. Through Student Gamecock Television (SGTV), students produce multimedia programming that informs, entertains and defines student culture. Bobbie got her start at SGTV by pitching a pop culture segment, "Gossip." And while the pitch was successful, she had to learn new technical skills and find a staff.

"There were definitely challenges at first. I had to learn how to use the camera and how to film. But was also a great way to get a jump on some of my required classes in the School of Journalism. When I had classes like Intro to Reporting and Writing, I felt prepared."

In its first season, "Gossip" had a team of six and grew to the point where it needed two hosts. When Bobbie left the show to pursue other communications positions, the team had grown to 10. It was a sign that her idea was solid and her vision well executed. Looking back, she realized she had surrounded herself with new friends, solid creatives and future collaborators.

 

"That's been the best part of it [working in Student Media]. I came in with an idea and found other people who believed in it. The fact that students are still producing my show, means a lot. Aside from the show's success, it was the people who I worked with that made me the happiest."

The Change

With any form of exploration, comes a realization. For Bobbie, it was learning the technical components of her major may ultimately act as a barrier to her degree. She made the difficult choice to change her major from broadcast journalism to mass communications.

"It was tough because I felt like my dream wasn't working out as planned. I had this vision of being a broadcast major since fifth grade. However, changing my major lead me to unexpected opportunities I ended up loving and I became much happier. I found my niche during this process and feel like I made the right decision."

What might have led to a loss of focus, created a moment of clarity. She found that moving from broadcast journalism meant she could shift her focus from the technical components that she struggled with and to writing and reporting. Described as more of a "pen and paper" creative, Bobbie immediately established ED2010, a professional development organization for students interested in writing and digital media.

The Resume

Even though she changed her major, Bobbie continued to create a path at Carolina that will no doubt pave the way to the future she wants. Through Student Media, she not only created and co-produced "Gossip," but also served as Assistant Public Relations Director and Social Media Coordinator for SGTV. Bobbie also co-founded ED2010 and wrote for Her Campus, an online women's magazine. She recently started as editorial fellow for College Fashionista, an online platform for college students interested in the fashion industry.

Needless to say, there is a thriving collaborative community of content creators, writers and producers supported by many student organizations. The message: No matter your major, if you want to develop your point of view or writing or multimedia skills, there is a place for you. According to Bobbie, "Looking back at how much I learned at SGTV, all the people I met, and how fun it was, the experience made all the difference."

 

The Internship

Perhaps the biggest reinforcement of Bobbie's trajectory was the semester she spent working full-time as a Social Strategy Intern at Comedy Central. She also managed to continue some of her studies and manage the social media channels for SGTV.

"When I applied, I wasn't sure I had the experience required. But I had waited so long for this opportunity, I knew I had to apply. I remember getting the first phone interview. There wasn't one piece of my wall that wasn't covered with sticky notes to help with talking points."

Her determination paid off—she was hired to work in the Social Strategy Department at Comedy Central.

"Landing the internship at Comedy Central was the dream that seemed impossible. My number one goal came true. I still can't believe it. Living in New York alone, working full-time...were all milestones that made me feel so much stronger. I think we're all guilty of comparing ourselves to the success of others and feeling behind at times, of course I doubt myself. But this showed me that the impossible is possible and inspired me more than ever to keep working towards my goals no matter how out there they seem."

Bobbie's work at Comedy Central spanned much of what is expected at a major media company. She created memes for the network's roster of programming, constructed social media posts around cultural moments, conducted routine competitive analysis and researched influencers for potential collaborations. One of Bobbie's bigger projects was to analyze how networks like Vice and Funny or Die promoted their digital content and propose a strategy for Comedy Central.

"I was really proud of the connections and the relationships that I made. I learned a lot from so many people. I am proud of the hard work I did for my internship. I am also thankful for my boss. She was a great mentor, patient and let me take ownership of projects."

The Future

As Bobbie looks ahead, she does so with a much stronger understanding of the industry she wants to enter. Her desire to do – rather than hope she has done enough while at Carolina – puts her in the position to take her career in any direction.

"While at Carolina, I learned there are so many things in media I can work with that connects me to my love of journalism. If you are going to work in media, I think it's really good to have experience in writing, public relations, social...it all goes together. I came to USC thinking that I was going to be a journalist. If I didn't try other things, I wouldn't have the confidence to be open-minded about my future.

For those who dream to see their bylines in Glamour or content in Starbucks' newsfeed, the realization of the work it takes usually begins when applying for internships. For Bobbie, there was never any doubt of what it would take to launch her career. Her resume proves it. Her drive proves it. And as graduation nears, the City That Never Sleeps should offer many more new stories to tell.