This page is dedicated to the stories of our alumni. Many people ask, “What can you do with a COMM degree?” Because, “What can’t you do with a COMM degree,” is not a satisfying answer, we developed this page to showcase what our alumni are doing now.
This week, we feature Chad Davis
Chad Davis is a general assignment and arts reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. Chad attended Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, MO before heading to Truman. Now, his work has appeared on Harvest Public Media, The St. Louis American, NPR’s All Things Considered, and The Pulitzer Center. You can talk to him or argue with him about music, television, and/or film on Twitter (@iamcdavis.).
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I did not. I started working soon after I graduated in 2016. The decision worked out for me, but maybe it’s something I’ll consider years down the line.
What was your first job after graduation?
I worked as an account representative at a marketing and data agency in St. Louis called Ansira for a little over a year before my current job.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I’m a general assignment and arts reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
I think the biggest thing it did for me was offer a variety of classes that each taught me practical and real world skills. Many of the classes I took strengthened my interpersonal skills which in turn strengthened how I communicate with people now during interviews.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
I think the name of the class was Experimental Methods. I felt like I had to turn on a completely different part of my brain because so much of the work in that class is learning about studies and conducting your own research project. But being able to understand statistics and translate them into something anyone can understand is something I’ve had to do multiple times when writing stories. So in retrospect, the class was extremely helpful.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
I think serving as Executive Producer for TMN Television was great. I got to work with a great group of people from the television station and the rest of TMN. I think we really did a great job and really had each other’s backs.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
I think Truman, being a smaller school, really keeps you connected with other students and your professors. You get great one-on-one experience. Those connections with other students will go a long way when it comes to looking for jobs and other opportunities outside of college.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
JOIN STUDENT MEDIA! JOIN STUDENT MEDIA! JOIN STUDENT MEDIA!
Aside from an internship outside of school, it really does give a sample of what the reporting world is like before you get a job. Companies with internships will definitely value your resume more if it includes experience writing of creating videos for a student media organization. If you aren’t sure if you even want to be a reporter, student media is still a great place to try new things and you’ll learn how to collaborate with other people and you’ll pick up great teamwork skills.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Do things on your own. Build a portfolio where you start writing on your own to build up those skills. And make sure you meet and connect with people in the industry. Reach out to them, get coffee with them and take initiative. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those in the field because they were in the same position you were in and had to do the same thing.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
I miss how close everything was. Walking to the square, going to El Vaquero, if that’s even still there (Editor’s note: It is not), and going to the DuKum Inn on Thursday nights. Ahh, what a time it was to be alive.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“COMM and get a great education!”
Get it?? like “come” but I said “COMM.” This is why I wasn’t in UpChuckles.
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
Multimedia Reporting. I think a class where I could teach the basics of how you can use technology with reporting would be important since so many reporters need to know how to use so many different tools.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
Try new things and challenge yourself! Make your own fun and surround yourself with good people.
If you would like to learn more of Chad’s story, you can learn more about him by following him on Twitter.
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Read about more COMM alumni here!