BY JESSICA SHERWIN
Change, though inevitable, can be hard to willingly plunge headfirst into.
However, that was exactly what Sarah Beckman decided to do in her sophomore year at
Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa, Ill.
“My ultimate decision to completely throw out my former career goals and jump into journalism was [in the] Intro to Journalism class I took,” Beckman said. “The freedom of speech, the element of curiosity, the digging up of a story...all drew me in instantly.”
Beckman, a recent graduate of Illinois State University, worked as an intern in 2011 and 2012 for KEMPA Summer Journalism Workshop (SJW). Beckman also attended the fall KEMPA conferences in 2008 and 2009 as a high school student.
"As a student, I really sharpened my design skills thanks to numerous KEMPA conferences,” Beckman said. “I remember being enthralled with Bryce Ulmer's design capabilities and tricks as a junior in high school. I was so eager to go back to my school paper and try them out."
During her time as an intern for KEMPA SJW, Beckman worked as a camp counselor, personal assistant and teacher for the workshop.
In addition to improving her organizational and social skills, Beckman “enjoyed getting to know the teachers and students, and learning from their creativity and passion for journalism.”
KEMPA was one of the very first steps in Beckman’s impressive journalistic career thus far. To date, Beckman has worked with seven different media outlets.
After graduating high school as editor-in-chief of the Talon Times, Beckman eventually became a news and sports reporter, promotions director, news and sports operations director, and General Manager of Illinois State University's radio station, 103.3 WZND.
Beckman also interned at WJBC-AM in Bloomington, Ill., worked as a morning show producer at FOX-affiliate Cities 92.9 in Bloomington, interned at the NPR-affiliate KJZZ in Phoenix, Ariz., and worked part-time as a reporter at the NPR-affiliate WGLT in Bloomington.
Recently, Beckman began her first full-time job as a reporter and anchor at an ABC-
affiliate in Little Rock, Ark. Beckman majored in Broadcast Journalism at Illinois State University, but says many of her journalistic skills found their beginning in her time at KEMPA.
“In college, I led my university's radio station and relied on the people skills I learned from KEMPA as an intern,” Beckman said. “I was a patient and thorough leader in college, and I attribute that to KEMPA.”
Beckman says many moments in her journalism career have stuck with her, but cites her “most inspiring and rewarding experience” so far as the 2012 Presidential Election coverage that she coordinated at her campus radio station.
“The one memory that will never fade is when President Obama was declared the victor, my fellow news directors and I took off our headphones, switched off the mics, shut the station down, and walked out to our cars at midnight in silence,” Beckman said.
“When we reached our vehicles, we all said, ‘I can't believe that just happened,'” Beckman said.
One of the things Beckman enjoys most about radio journalism is the journalist’s ability to be ‘in the moment,’ and report events as they happen. Although sometimes those events are tragic and difficult to approach, Beckman believes they are a learning experience and have made her the journalist she is today.
In the future, Beckman would like to report in Washington, D.C. on politics.
The authors of these news and announcements are KEMPA staff members. We appreciate you reading and engaging with our site.