Taylor University Multimedia Journalism majors craft messages with consumer insight, Christian ethics, and a passion for truth. The program equips aspiring journalists to tell stories not only through printed words, but also through design, photography, audio, and video. With courses that include news and investigative reporting, feature and magazine writing, web design, creative nonfiction writing, and public relations campaign production, students enter the workforce with a wide range of storytelling tools.
Alumna Abigail Roberts ‘19 now uses the skills she developed in her role as an Anchor Producer at ABC News. As she reflects on her time at Taylor, she also provides insight on how her faith impacts her work as a journalist.
Grasping the Power of Story
Roberts grew up in the Middle East as the child of humanitarian workers. Her parents worked with refugees, helping them process trauma, emotions, and loss. In high school, on her days off, she was able to come along and watch them do the work of graciously holding people’s stories. These experiences taught her how to listen well and ask meaningful questions. She came to realize that she loved the power of story and was gifted at telling them.
After graduating high school, Roberts took a gap year to serve with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) to discern whether or not God was calling her to Taylor. During this season, the Lord validated to her again and again that writing was her calling. After her gap year, she decided Taylor was where she wanted to begin pursuing a career in journalism.
“I just knew that education was extremely important, and I wanted it to be from a Christian perspective with professors who truly care about nurturing you and raising you up—not only as a successful student, but also as a leader in both Christian and secular communities,” Roberts said. “I wanted to know that I’d have skills that could apply anywhere, and going to a liberal arts college gives you such a wide range.”
On top of courses such as Social Media Strategy, Magazine and Feature Writing, and Advanced Media Writing, Roberts also worked for Taylor’s award-winning student newspaper, The Echo. Students who write for on-campus publications gain a wealth of experience meeting deadlines, interviewing sources, and covering real stories.
“Within Taylor’s journalism department, they really teach you how to write well, and that’s the most important skill,” Roberts said. “Even though I’m working in broadcast, I write for our social media, I write for our scripts, and it's all about being concise and quick and in AP style… Taylor did such an incredible job making sure I had that skill.”
Working in Broadcast Media
In her role at ABC, Roberts assists the production process for 30-minute broadcast segments. She edits and cuts footage, interviews, and pitches stories found on social media or through in-person reporting in addition to a variety of other responsibilities. The job keeps her on her toes and she loves that every day can bring something different.
Working in broadcast news has been a learning experience for Roberts. With the Covid-19 pandemic making headlines over the two years, many of the sources she interviewed were families who’d lost loved ones to the virus. Stepping into this widespread grief, she looked to her favorite Storyteller to bring her faith into her work.
“Jesus understood and used the power of story, and I just love that,” Roberts said. “I feel like I get to do that in my work and in my life when I'm going to share their story or choosing to have compassion… If someone has just experienced loss, how can I comfort them? If I'm doing a happy story, how can I give space to honor this person and celebrate with them? It gives the verse “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn,” has taken on a whole new meaning while working at ABC.”
Sometimes, Roberts has even had the opportunity to pray for families who are open about their faith. She said there are plenty of days where she must lean on the Lord for strength, but one of her biggest post-grad lessons has been finding her primary identity in Christ instead of her work. She takes heart in knowing God sees her as more than only a journalist, but as a beloved daughter.
She carries these truths with her as she continues to honor the image of God in those she interviews, whether they are discussing the Covid-19 vaccine or sharing how they knitted Bernie Sanders’ mittens.
“I think what I love most about Jesus is that he always met people where they were—whether that was the woman by the well, or Zacchaeus in a tree, or the disciples down by their boats, Jesus met them there,” Roberts said. “I find so much joy in knowing that Jesus cared about the person in front of him… He was like, ‘I'm going to meet you in the middle of your story.’ He was willing to go low or was willing to go high—whether he was eating with rich tax collectors or the poorest of the poor, Jesus was focused on the person in front of him.”
To learn more about Taylor’s Multimedia Journalism major and concentration options, explore the careers they offer or talk to Dr. Alan Blanchard, Associate Professor of Journalism, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Schedule your visit today.