Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Marie Elizabeth Oliver studied journalism in Louisiana before moving to Philadelphia and earning a graduate degree in magazine publishing in 2005. From there, she worked as a digital editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Parents magazines before moving to Washington, D.C. and landing a producer role at The Washington Post, where she eventually became deputy editor of digital news. Over the past few years, Oliver has pursued various kinds of work including freelance writing, a managing editor at a startup, as well as consulting for Louisiana Public Radio. She has now landed back at her alma mater of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as a journalism instructor while serving as an independent journalist for two local publications.
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?
MO: Read a lot. Write a lot. Ask a lot of questions. Learn as many storytelling skills as you can, and then be prepared to put in the work to build the career you want.
What are you hearing from your students or members about their ambitions and hopes for the profession?
MO: My students inspire me with their passion for amplifying diverse voices in journalism. They see the same problems we all do when it comes to the lack of representation in newsrooms, and they are eager to be part of the solution.
The profession of journalism feels more attacked today than in a long time, but also highly necessary. Do you feel that’s true, and if so, why?
MO: Definitely. Things have changed in the journalism industry at such a fast pace. At the same time, our politics and culture have become more divisive. It’s easy to point a finger at “the media” for exacerbating this divisiveness, but I think too often journalists get lumped in with social media, entertainment and political pundits.
If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism—in any area—what might that be and why?
MO: I wish there was more of an investment in educating the public from an early age on news literacy and the value of journalism. So much has changed in the media landscape from generation to generation, and although there are more options in how and where to consume news, it can leave people (especially young people) feeling confused and overwhelmed. So many of us grew up watching our parents read the newspaper each morning, but I worry about what will happen when this generation only sees their parents scrolling through their phones.
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February 14, 2023