The first Fran Burns Scholarship given by the NJ Society of Professional Journalists went to Sarah Doherty, so that she could attend the national conference of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In Doherty’s words
Last year, I transferred into Rutgers University to find more opportunities that could help me achieve my life-long dream of becoming a news anchor. I found exactly what I was looking for when I had the opportunity to go to the 2018 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, thanks to the Fran Burns Scholarship.
I attended five sessions at the conference. My favorite session was the last session that I attended. The session was called “Unleash Your Inner Broadcaster” and the speakers were George Bodarky, Tracy Davidson, and Amy Tardif. Since I aspire to be a news anchor, this session was a perfect fit for me. At one point during the session, I was called to the front of the room and I read a news script. The speakers of the session then critiqued me on my reading and showed me how I could improve. Since I was bit nervous, they had me read the script as loudly as I could and then afterward I read it with absolutely no trouble. I found that incredible, and after watching many others go through their critiques, it seemed like a magic trick to me. The speakers always knew what exercises to give someone so that they could read the script back perfectly. I will definitely remember those tricks and save them for my future.
Favorite part: Davidson
My favorite part of the conference was seeing a familiar face, fellow news anchor Tracy Davidson. I met Davidson back in 2016 after winning the Widener University Student Leadership Award. I have always looked up to Davidson, especially after meeting her in person in 2016. When I first saw her at the conference I was shocked, and I went to talk to her immediately. She was so excited to see me that she took a video of me and posted it on her Instagram page. She also even gave me advice about internship opportunities and I could not be more grateful.
Attending the Excellence in Journalism Conference has been the highlight of my semester. I took pages and pages of notes while I was there, and I will definitely keep those notes in mind as I navigate through my college career. This conference has given me great advice and has taught me the steps I can take to be the best journalist that I can be.