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Jingnan Huo (MSJ17)

News Assistant, NPR
Jingnan Huo

Jingnan Huo (MSJ17) performs many different tasks in her role as a news assistant at NPR. Before joining NPR’s Investigative Unit, she learned many of the skills she needed through her classes at Medill and set herself up for success by connecting to Medill’s alumni network.

What are your main responsibilities in your current role?

I help correspondents, producers and editors with investigative stories. The work involves, among other tasks, finding and reading documents, analyzing data, finding and talking to sources and mixing audio.

How has your Medill training helped you in your career so far?

Having little journalism experience before arriving at Medill, I learned most of the skills I needed through the program. The most important skills professors taught me are pitching and writing stories.

I also got plenty of reporting experience during my time in Medill’s Washington programs, where I wrote both day-turn stories and longer, more deeply reported pieces. I think the good clips and bylines seriously beefed up my profile in addition to making me a better reporter.

In addition, professors’ encouraging attitude toward my work and pursuits helped me to be a more confident journalist.

How did the Medill network help you find your job?

Alums and professors gave me references that landed me internships, and one of them led to my current job. Other alums have been generous with advice and bridge-building, be it through emails, coffee or events. Network is key in finding journalism jobs and Medill’s alumni have been most supportive.

What is an experience that stands out from your time at Medill?

The whole year at Medill was such a blast that I feel bad having to pick! If I have to pick, I’ll say when I followed two performers around for a week and documented their daily lives with camera. I enjoyed photographing them in their own skin and works hopping the photos with peers every night. I mostly wrote during my time at Medill -- be it articles or code, in Washington or in London -- so a visual experience stood out.

What advice do you have for someone considering Medill?

If you value supportive networks (you should), Medill has it. Do check out the alumni events and networks near you.

Medill offers you some neatly defined paths to follow, and also plenty of choices if you want to design your own path. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lake Michigan, Northwestern and Chicago in the summer deserve your time. Bring a good camera if possible!

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