Jessica Rettig, 24, is a young, online reporter who recently wrote for for U.S. News & World Report . Since September 2010 a policy and politics reporter, Rettig has been writing news analysis on politics, foreign policy, environment, and national security.
Among her online news stories in October 2011 are: Congress, Administration Discuss Next Steps on Iran, U.S. Economic Woes Put China in the Political Crosshairs and Shakira Joins Obama’s Hispanic Education Team.
Rettig credits much of her love of journalism to many mentors and professors at Georgetown University. She believes that not only did they help her find her love of reporting but also assisted her finding the job she has today. Rettig, involved in the Journalism and Women Symposium, was elected to the board of directors in September 2011. She graduated from Georgetown University in May 2009 with a B.A. in English and minored in Spanish and Latin American Studies. Rettig also completed a semester abroad studying at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. Her portfolio can be found at www.usnews.com/topics/author/jessica_rettig; and her e-mail address is jessr22(at)gmail.com.
Rettig was interviewed by Janlyn Holden, 21, a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in communication studies and getting her minor in mass communication and journalism.
Janlyn Holden: Why did you become involved in journalism?
Jessica Rettig: I pretty much fell into it with the help of a few really talented and encouraging journalism professors. I saw the passion that other journalists had for their work, and I wanted to find that for myself.
JH: How do you define journalism today?
JR: That’s not an easy question to answer in a few sentences. It has so many forms and so many purposes. But ultimately, I think it’s still about helping people learn and gain new perspectives. It’s about helping them to make more informed decisions.
JH: How has technology influenced or affected your career?
JR: I haven’t seen any great shifts due to technology yet in my short career; it’s always been present. But I think in general, it has forced me to think and produce content faster than I might have without the technology available now. Also, it’s pushed me to learn skills, such as web producing, that I probably wouldn’t have pursued otherwise.
JH: How will technology affect the future of journalism?
JR: I don’t think anyone really knows. It’s like asking people living at the dawn of television to predict how the Internet would affect the future of journalism. We don’t really know what’s coming next. All I can guess is that technology will mean constant evolution in journalism.
JH: What one word would you use to describe the status of women in journalism today?
JH: What role(s) will women have in future journalism?
JR: A very big role.
JH: Do you feel that quality among men, women and minorities is something that must be tackled and focused on more?
JR: Sure. There’s always room for improvement. And I think that, in general, there’s still a lot of gaps that could be bridged. However, for me personally, as a woman and an Asian-American, I can’t really say that I’ve ever faced issues due to my gender or race. I consider myself very fortunate, but at the same time, I think that a lot of the past barriers have already been broken for women especially in our millennial generation.
JH: Have you ever felt discriminated in the journalism field because of your gender?
JH: When writing and reporting, do you ever find that your work is “softer” or more descriptive then that of a man’s?
JR: I don’t really think so. There might be something to the fact that I enjoy reporting on diplomacy and foreign aid more than, say, battlefield tactics and weapons. But I think that men have written some of the most beautiful, most emotionally provocative stories I’ve read. At the same time, there are plenty of women out there who enjoy and are great at covering the presumably “harder” topics.
JH: If you ever had a daughter, would you encourage her to go into the field of journalism?
JR: I hope so.
JH: Do you believe that blogs can be just as informative as an online newspaper?
JR: I don’t know that there’s always the distinction anymore. So, in that sense, yes, I probably read blogs and news stories equally for good information.
JH: Where do you see yourself (in terms of your career) in ten years?
JR: I’d love to start my own media venture at some point. I want to be in the position, as an editor, to help other young journalists. A book by then would be nice too.
This is part of a series of profiles of JAWS members by University of Iowa students. For a complete listing, see this page.