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Hayley Slusser ‘22, Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Targum, Reflects on the Benefits of the JMS Major
Slusser said majoring in Journalism and Media Studies at SC&I has helped her become a better writer, communicator, and journalist.
Slusser said as a Journalism and Media Studies major at SC&I, she has become a better writer, communicator, and journalist.

Hayley Slusser ‘22, a full-time student majoring in Journalism and Media Studies, the Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Targum, and an intern at The Lenfest Institute, says majoring in JMS has greatly influenced her success at Rutgers. In the Q&A below, Slusser emphasizes the critical role journalists play in the world and the endless possibilities for exciting and varied careers that SC&I JMS graduates are prepared for. 

What drew you into the Rutgers JMS Program?

I wanted to pursue journalism because I feel it is really important to help people tell their stories and facilitate positive changes. News is a vital resource for helping communities navigate and understand issues that affect their daily lives. I actually am a transfer student though, and I came to Rutgers after my first year because it was much more affordable. 

How is your academic experience at SC&I helping you reach your goals?

I think SC&I offers a number of really specific courses and electives that allow you to focus on a given topic related to journalism and media, rather than general classes that touch on everything. I’ve taken classes on social media, media ethics, investigative reporting, public relations, and global news. 

Is there any specific teacher, project, or experience that has impacted you the most? Why was it so impactful?

Professor Juan Gonzalez’s investigative reporting class has been by far the most important part of my academic experience. Aside from learning skills such as filing Open Public Records Act requests and expanding my outreach and interview capabilities, the class has helped me think more critically about the stories I am pursuing — there’s almost always more than meets the eye. Professor Gonzalez is a really accomplished reporter and has been an incredible mentor for me. 

Are you applying what you are learning in your JMS classes directly to your internship at The Lenfest Institute? If so, how?

Up until now, almost all of my experience has been in writing, reporting, and editing. At the Institute, my role is more focused on communications and social media, so I decided to take a class on public relations at SC&I this semester to help improve the work I do at my internship. 

How did you obtain the internship at The Lenfest Institute? What steps did you have to take to reach this goal?

I actually found out about the Institute through Handshake and applied through that platform. I didn’t know much about it at first, but I soon learned that the Institute does amazing work to help local news outlets find sustainable business models and thrive. I wanted to learn more about potential career opportunities in communications, and this role seemed like a good fit because of my prior experience with and passion for journalism. 

What is it like to work there, and do you have advice for anyone who wishes to intern there? What are your roles and responsibilities as an intern?

The staff at the Institute is incredibly welcoming and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the team in the short time I’ve been there. I'm the communications intern, and I work on press releases, newsletters, social media content, and editorial projects. The role is really flexible, and my supervisor helped me to identify some personal goals and shape my weekly tasks around those goals. I don’t have any specific advice to get involved with the Institute, but I would say that students should be flexible and think outside of the box when pursuing internship opportunities. I was aiming to work for a typical news outlet, but by taking a chance on a role I didn’t know much about, I ended up finding something I really enjoy.

What type of tasks do you fulfill as Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Targum? How do you apply the skills you’ve acquired from JMS to the position?

At the Targum, I oversee the day-to-day content production and ensure that all of our articles are relevant to our readers and well-written. I also work with our Board of Trustees, business department, and web developers to ensure we have the resources to distribute our editorial content. Lastly, I am responsible for shaping more long-term goals for the publication, with my main focus being improving our digital strategy and social media now that we no longer print a physical newspaper. I think for myself, most of my skills have been developed through experience, but JMS has helped me learn more about the importance of media ethics given the current state of journalism. 

What are your future career goals?

I really haven’t figured it out yet — so much of my life these past three years has been consumed by the Targum and it is hard for me to imagine what I’ll do afterward. I’m really passionate about investigative reporting and community-focused journalism, but I also am considering working in some kind of public relations position. Either way, I can’t imagine a future where I won’t be writing and editing in some form. 

What skills and insights will you take away from the JMS program?

I don’t think I realized how many different forms of journalism and how many different beats there are until I saw the wide array of classes taught at JMS. I originally came to school imagining I’d end up as a typical news reporter, but with classes centered on TV, radio, podcasts, entertainment, magazine writing, and social media, it really goes to show how diverse this field is. It’s exciting to think of how many more options I have. 

What advice do you have for anyone at any stage of their undergraduate experience who is considering taking on journalism and interested in the Rutgers JMS Program?

A journalism degree is a lot more valuable than people think, as it shows your ability to write, communicate, ask questions, and think critically. For me, it also helped me transition to Rutgers as a transfer student, since reporting on the community helped me get a feel for the issues that mattered to them most and connected me with students, faculty, and New Brunswick residents. If you are unsure about majoring in journalism, there are plenty of opportunities to try it out. I’m biased, so of course I’ll suggest getting involved with the Targum, but there are also plenty of other amazing media outlets on campus to choose from. 

Discover more about the Journalism and Media Studies Major at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information on the website


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