Alicia Fox

Consultant, Rural Health Professions Action Plan
Graduated 2013
1. Where did you do your internship while in MRU Journalism?

Metro News – Calgary


2. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have liked to give yourself as you started your internship?
Be humble, seek truth above sensationalism, and breathe. You don't have to have all the answers; in fact, you're in an internship to learn, not prove yourself. You'll have plenty of time to "prove yourself" in the workforce. A willingness to learn, positive attitude, and firm handshake with eye contact goes a lot further than pretending you know what you're doing. Show up and be a life learner.

3. What is something that really stands out when you think about your time at MRU Journalism?
The instructors and their life experience, and the connections in the Comm lab!

4. How transferrable were the skills you acquired in your education?
When I first graduated, I had tunnel vision. I was convinced that my degree was specifically for journalism and that was my path. A decade later, I have found myself doing a full pivot in my career and a whole new world has opened up for me. Here are just a few examples:

• I learned how to interview. This has assisted me in knowing how to listen, when to be okay with the silence and when to prompt with questions, and even how to moderate a panel.

• I learned the basics of graphic design and basic web editing. This transferred to promotional posters and website development/maintenance in both my volunteer and freelance work.

• I learned photography - this means I can submit beautiful, well-framed photos of the communities I visit for work and do proper headshots for the website I edit in my volunteer position as communications coordinator for District 4 (with Kin Canada).

• I learned how to edit. I'm going to leave that right there, because this skill is useful in practically any position.

• I learned video editing. This was extremely beneficial in the "new world" of multimedia requirements on social media and promotional content.

• I (re)learned "how to learn". As an interviewer, you will get the best responses if you open the door to understanding. This means you have the good fortune of becoming a "jack of all trades" in a sense, as you are learning from so many different experts in their fields on an ongoing basis.

When you break down these skills to the basics, these are extremely transferrable: Speaking in public and in an interview setting; teamwork and collaboration; e-mail, web, and online publishing; a keen eye for detail; the need to be punctual, organized, efficient, and accurate; content development; critical thinking; and a drive for knowledge.

6. In your career, what type of work has most excited you, and why?
Hearing and telling the stories of people!

7. What is the most important but unwritten rule that you’ve learned on the job?
Be humble. I've said it before, but I'll say it again. When you walk into an interview, a new opportunity, or even a conversation... allowing yourself to say "I don't understand this - can you please explain more?"; or "This is new information for me - I would love to have you start from the beginning"... will get you a much better result than publishing an inaccurate article and getting a slap on the wrist later! Allow people the benefit of the doubt - they aren't judging you - it's about building rapport and respect.

8. Who has most inspired you along the way, and why?

I was so fortunate to start my career with a team of people who had my back. The editor and publisher (as well as the rest of the team) at the Claresholm Local Press were - hands-down - some of the best folks I have ever had an opportunity to work alongside! I have an amazing team of people now and cannot say enough about my current boss, but I will always look back fondly on my time there at the Local Press. The publisher was a strong, independent, and successful woman who I have always admired, and the editor was a guy who was willing to put his head down and get to work in the trenches! He was (and still is) a real community-minded guy who was never too busy to answer a question or even push your car out of a snow drift in a back alley! (Yes, this happened!)