All the News That’s Fit to Smith
In profiling an alumna like Briana Smith, it’s nearly impossible to pluck just one inspiring quote out of the pile. But this one is certainly up there:
“Reporting is my purpose in life — to give people a voice and empower others through my storytelling.” — Briana Smith
The Hofstra journalism graduate has already accomplished so much by age 24. During her time in The Herbert School’s BA/MA Journalism program, which she completed in 2017, Smith interned at News12 Long Island, NBC, WNBC, MSNBC, ABC and NY1; anchored Hofstra Today and WRHU Radio Hofstra 88.7 FM; reported for the Hofstra Chronicle; and showcased her skills at the university’s 2016 Presidential Debate.
“The only way I could accomplish my dream is by gaining as much information, experience and guidance as possible,” Smith, originally from Totowa, New Jersey, said. “Because of that, I can proudly say I started living my dream at 24 years old, and the best part is this is only the beginning.
Making Headlines at The Herbert School
Smith’s Hofstra story started with a high-school tour of The Herbert School and its broadcasting station WRHU, led by former Associate Dean Marc Oppenheim, where she immediately fell in love with the university. From her undergraduate years, the aspiring journalist involved herself in as much as possible.
“I truly believe my whole experience at Hofstra was extremely beneficial because I participated in so many organizations and was surrounded by so many inspirational people — peers, professors and journalists,” Smith said. “I never stopped moving because I knew my passion and purpose in life was journalism.”
Smith’s involvement with Hofstra’s student media organizations and her academic performance were so impressive that she was one of a select group of students across the country chosen for the 2017 Carnegie-Knight News21 national reporting initiative, headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The News21 Program brings top journalism students from across the country to report and produce in-depth, multimedia projects for major media outlets, including The Washington Post, NBC News and USA Today.
Through the fellowship, Smith was able to travel across the country to produce a collaborative feature story on water contamination. The experience was one of the hardest journalism tasks to date for Smith, but she knew the end product would be worth the effort.
“I’m extremely grateful and blessed to learn from the best and most talented Hofstra professors and participate in so many invaluable opportunities that led me to where I am today. I can’t thank Hofstra enough.”
“I conducted interviews, shot and edited video, took photos and helped write the story — I did it all,” Smith said. “I knew this was just the beginning of a beautiful journey ahead.”
“Remember Where You Started”
For someone who has known her goal from the outset of entering the The Herbert School’s Journalism program, Smith insists she still had to persevere through her share of adversity and self-doubts. For her peers seeking a career in media, she offers this advice:
“Don’t ever give up.You will have so many good days along with bad ones, but at the end of the day, everything will be okay. If you have the passion and perseverance to succeed, there’s nothing you can’t handle.
“This career is not easy, at all, and people outside of the industry will never understand what you go through to present your finished product. But as long as you remember why you started, that’s all you need to keep climbing and reach greater heights.
“This career is rewarding in so many ways; I couldn’t imagine doing anything else; if you can’t either, then you’re going to be the absolute best reporter and you’re going to make it — I promise.”