“Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one aspect of the [journalism] field. It has evolved over time and has taken over many different roles. There is no harm in taking the time to think about what aspects of journalism that is most important to you. Know your passion and follow it to wherever success may follow,” UNH graduate Alyssa Taliaferro, ’13, said.
Taliaferro’s advice is to any would be or current journalist, past and present. The notion of following your passion toward success is something Taliaferro knows very well. A Medford, Massachusetts native, Taliaferro majored in English/journalism with a double minor in Spanish and communication at the University of New Hampshire.
She started as a contributing writer for The New Hampshire (TNH) in 2010, and then became a staff writer in 2011. Finally, she became a news editor from 2012-13. However, Taliaferro said that when she arrived at UNH she did not intend to follow down the road of journalism, she actually planned on a different road instead.
“I was undeclared until the end of my sophomore year. I knew I had [interests] I liked to do but I didn’t know what to major in and make a career out of,” Taliaferro said. “I actually started as an international relations and Spanish duel major thinking that I wanted to work in some type of government job.”
“However, after one accounting class I quickly realized that the major would not be the best choice for me,” Taliaferro said. “So, I went into [the] English/journalism program originally thinking that I wanted to get into the magazine industry. But then broadcasting and things like that really grasped my attention.”
Still, Taliaferro longed to do something at UNH that fulfilled her interests. She worked in the mailroom and was part of an a cappella group, but she said she still felt something was missing. She always like writing and found herself to be pretty good at it too. So she started going to TNH contributors’ meetings and eventually decided that journalism was the right field for her.
Taliaferro said that she recalls the late nights, close deadlines and newsroom camaraderie as some of things she remembers while at TNH. But her best and favorite memory at TNH was when she sat in on an interview with Natalie Jacobson, which turned into a lengthy feature piece that went on the front page of the paper.
“I was a recipient of the Natalie Jacobson Journalism Award my junior year. I was invited down to Boston and got to meet and hear her speak,” Taliaferro said. “I really got to see who she was behind the camera. I would say I [have] never really been star struck up until [that] point.”
Like her path toward journalism, Taliaferro took an unconventional path after school when pursuing a career, journalistically speaking. After school, she went into social media marketing for businesses in the greater Boston area and currently is a digital marketing professional in the Boston area.
Taliaferro credits her abilities to the field of journalism; a field she said is unlike any other.
“I think that the field of journalism teaches a discipline that can’t really be taught in any other major,” Taliaferro said. “It’s taught through experiences and also living through the stories of others, which is something most fields don’t offer.”