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Success in the changing media landscape

Luke Braland and Ankita Dhussa have a lot in common: Both grew up in the Midwest; both earned a degree in journalism this spring, majoring in Radio/TV Producing; and both landed several internships during their time at Drake. More importantly, both were able to parlay their internships into job offers.

Although they’re now headed to first jobs on opposite ends of the United States, they share something else—a confidence that they’re ready to meet any challenge life has to offer.

“The radio and television worlds change all the time,” says Braland, a native of Olathe, Kan. “Something could change while you’re on-air, and you just have to go with it. But I’m prepared to make the transition into the real world and comfortable with my chosen career.”

That career is sports video production, and it’s one that he selected when he was only 10 years old—when his uncle, a below-the-hoop videographer at a Kansas City basketball game, let him spool and unspool camera cable during a live production.

“It didn’t feel like work at all,” remembers Braland. “I loved it, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Drake has opened a multitude of professional opportunities that led Braland to his first job as a production assistant in the content associate program at ESPN. While at Drake he had a summer internship with FOX Sports during Kansas City Royals games, an internship with the BBC news network during the Iowa Caucuses, and an internship with ABC News during the production of a nationally televised Republican presidential candidate debate.

Braland says the mix of in-class curriculum and internship experience gave him a broad base of knowledge, and perhaps most of all, confidence. When he applied to ESPN he was one of two applicants, out of more than 75, who attended a school with fewer than 6,000 undergraduate students. That never shook his resolve.

“I was confident in my Drake education,” says Braland. “Drake gets equipment in your hands early on in your academic career and keeps you using it. I never felt I had to be worried about not attending a bigger school.”

Dhussa, a native of Clive, Iowa, has also learned the value of flexibility in a changing marketplace. The summer after her first academic year at Drake she helped produce a documentary film for Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa. The following summer she served as videographer on a Washington military base, where she chronicled the training regimen of Army ROTC cadets.

Eventually she landed an internship at Hulu, a popular subscription-based video streaming service. She’ll stay on at Hulu for her first job after graduation, with responsibilities that include digitizing movies, television shows, and other media that come in on various physical formats.

“Often the tasks I performed in my internships did not reflect what we learned in class,” says Dhussa. “But that’s okay because my professors and friends were interested in learning along with me about new advancements in video, web, and communications. I’ve had a very strong support system.”

Fellow journalism alumna Andrea Zimmerman, JO’08, continues to lean on the support of Drake faculty and friends as she navigates the rapidly changing industry of social media marketing.

“When I attended Drake, there were no classes on social media or writing for the web,” says Zimmerman, senior manager of blogs and social media for Disney Interactive. In fact, she’s worked with her professors after graduation to develop some of the social and digital curriculum that prepares today’s Drake students for the modern journalism industry.

Zimmerman says that now more than ever she appreciates the value of the broad-based education she received at Drake.

“I am forever indebted to Drake for providing me the life skills—time management, relationship building, editing skills—that have allowed me to succeed in this environment, where every day is totally different.”