Pursuing Journalism in College: A Profile

Kiley Vallee ‘22, Contributing Writer

Katrina Liu, an Algonquin class of 2019 alumni and current sophomore at Boston University has had a passion for Journalism ever since her sophomore year of highschool. She is currently studying at the BU College of Communications with a major in Journalism. I had the opportunity to talk with her about her experience with continuing in the field of journalism post high school. 

After taking her first introductory journalism class at Algonquin, she applied and became Assistant Opinions Editor as a junior, and eventually the Head Opinions Editor as a senior. 

“I just tried the class and I ended up liking it. I always consider myself fortunate because now that I’m in college and studying journalism, a lot of high schools don’t have that opportunity in high school to take those classes,” she remarks.

Liu’s fondest memories of high school journalism date back to Algonquin Harbinger’s “Press Week”, where the editors would spend all their time assembling the newspaper, sometimes staying there until 9 pm with fellow editors. 

Another prominent memory she has from high school journalism was the opportunity for her newspaper to attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a student press group that unites journalists internationally through conferences and award programs. Her newspaper was nominated for the association’s silver crown her senior year. She had the opportunity to go to Columbia University along with her staff to receive the crown. A great honor considering it was one of the only papers in Massachusetts to win such an award.

Along with the award presentation, they offered workshop classes where Liu was granted the experience to hear from many renowned journalists. She also met the writers from Stoneham-Douglas High School, where the 2018 Parkland Shooting occurred, where their memorial magazine was presented at the event.

“At a high school level, that’s very inspiring and is an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get,” she adds.

Throughout high school, Liu was inspired by her fellow newspaper staff, along with the Newspaper advisor and journalism teacher. She notes how her teacher let the students take the ropes and have full say in regards to what went into the paper. She would offer advice but ultimately let students do their own things and learn from mistakes along the way. She gave them the ability to make their own choices and had a tough love mentality when looking at her relationships with students. When Liu was a senior, engrossed with important decisions about her future career, she consulted her teacher. She notes her realization of wanting to pursue journalism in the future.

 “I credit her for making me realize that this is a possibility. I told her I think this is what I want to do and she said I should totally consider doing it.” 

She applied early to Boston University and was admitted into the College of Communications.

“Try not to compare yourself to others around you during the process,” she says on the topic of daunting college applications. “You miss out on a lot of opportunities when you compare yourself to those around you. Focus on you because you know yourself the best”.

When Liu entered her freshman year at BU, she recounts fortunate she was to have a solid background in journalism knowledge from high school prior to college, which many of her classmates did not. 

At the renowned BU College of Communications, there are three subsections: film and TV, mass communications (PR, advertising, media science, etc), and journalism. Everyone takes Communications 101, an intro class that introduces all three aspects of communications. You then go from there and decide what you would like to pursue. Liu ultimately describes her choice of the Journalism program at BU as “Super self-explanatory”.

“Going to a university that has a very renowned journalism program has made me realize that  there are so many different paths in journalism that you don’t get exposed to in high school” she states.

As a sophomore in the program, Liu still has a passion for it and seems to love her major more and more every day. She particularly enjoys the aspect of truth and how much journalism varies on a day to day basis.

To anyone thinking about going into journalism whether it’s at a high school or college level, Lui emphasizes to “Try it out!” as you never know if you’ll like it.