The National University Herald

Herald Editor Graduates

Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer

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Herald editor Angela Cooper-McCorkle, a hard-working wife and mother from Washington state, is now also a graduate of National University’s Digital Journalism BA program. While she hasn’t yet left us for good, we know she’ll eventually have to turn her attention to the new opportunities her new degree will open for her. Congratulations, Angela!

“Navigating through life’s challenges sparks the inner flame of inspiration,” Angela says. She met her mentor Patricia Corlew by chance while navigating the professional Q&A website she helps moderate. From this unlikely spot a rapport blossomed and it was through this relationship that Angela decided to follow a career path that champions her being her “true, authentic self.”

For the last couple years, she has been working hard to improve the Herald, editing stories and mentoring writers from her home more than 1,000 miles north of National University’s San Diego headquarters. An amazing feat. But nothing new for the tireless editor.

Before coming to National, Cooper-McCorkle worked for three semesters as a staff writer at the Clipper in Everett, Washington. Before becoming editor of the Herald, she served as the paper’s copy editor and as a staff writer.

Angela writes on subjects as diverse as education, the arts, social services, crime, marijuana legalization, science and business. Before she walked in National’s June commencement, she took a few minutes to discuss her experience at NU.

What was it about National University that first attracted you?

A friend attended National so I learned all about the one course per month format. Knowing I could really concentrate on each subject and enjoy the sense of progress from finishing something every 30 days convinced me to apply.

What kind of challenges do you find in the publishing/media workplace?

The decline of print newspapers seems to mean fewer stable regional positions, particularly in straight newswriting versus TV news production, for example. Also, pay for journalists is relatively low given the importance of the work. I fear that old adage that information wants to be free means that the highest quality information might be getting undervalued, not that underpaid journalists are a new trend.

As far as personal challenges, working 60 hours a week, being a full-time college student, editor in chief at the Herald, team mom for my daughter’s Little League, and managing our menagerie of pets has made it a constant challenge to meet reporting deadlines, but it’s been fabulous practice for the future.

How would you describe the career you want to have?

I’d like to land a full-time reporting gig locally that allows me to cover human interest topics and do investigative reporting, though I’m looking forward to more general assignment writing in the meantime as it builds an excellent knowledge base. I was offered a freelance reporter position in January and it’s given me a chance to learn something about the nuts and bolts of how my city functions and its key figures, plus the disenfranchised and the solutions the community’s working on to help them.

How did your education prepare you for this career?

I feel well prepared for actual reporting and am glad the school’s increasing its focus on multimedia reporting, because a lot of jobs require or prefer candidates who can shoot and edit video, take photographs and use industry-specific software. I’ve studied investigative reporting, interviewing, I’ve also gotten to develop my own beat, covering marijuana news, a hot topic after recreational use was legalized in Washington a couple years ago.

What do you like and dislike about doing journalism?

I love unexpected revelations when I’m interviewing. I recently asked a city employee about a letter and got a rush when she admitted that the content was deceptive. And I was so pleased and satisfied to cross paths with a homeless resident at the beginning of a very rough morning that turned into a much better day due to the program I was covering. Telling those stories well, even the horrific ones, like about the holocaust survivor who spoke here a few weeks ago, is deeply fulfilling.

What advice would you offer someone considering journalism as a career?

Read everything. Then write. A lot. Keep up on the news. Question everything. Develop resourcefulness. And cherish your curiosity.

What do you read?

I haven’t had a minute for anything besides textbooks in the past two years, but for journalists, “Letters to a Young Journalist” is a nice starter and I loved “Feature and Magazine Writing” by David E. Sumner and Holly G. Miller for teaching me how to write a strong pitch letter when shopping my story ideas around to new editors. In my spare time, I read a fair amount of post-apocalyptic stuff—great training for how to survive on a journalist’s salary.

Which style guide do you go by?

The AP Style guide is de rigueur for journalists. It spells out our secret code on how refer to people (“children,” never “kids”), and avoid many of the glaring errors that can arise when we write about unfamiliar cultures, regions and industries.

What are your goals for the future?

Well, the thought that got me into this was wanting to untangle the truth for a living. I’d like to simply settle in somewhere and have the opportunity to do the research on confounding issues, get my hands dirty in the data, and craft a clear, interesting story. My goal would be to land a job that allowed me to uncover mysteries and solve them.

Who has been your greatest influence?

My mentor Patricia Corlew inspired me to change careers, pursue something deeply meaningful. My literary influences, from Sherlock Holmes forward, influenced me to take joy in sorting out the details of perplexing mysteries, to be attentive. My husband influenced me to persevere and convinced me 100 times that managing this program while working 60 hours a week was worthwhile, less by what he said than by the way he made time for me. And my daughter, of course, influenced me to set a good example, value education and personal development. I had some wonderful professors too, who inspired me by their talented examples.

 

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Richard A. Lloreda, Assistant Editor

Richard A. Lloreda is a recent graduate from National University's Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications program. He is inspired by writing, music,...

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Herald Editor Graduates