Melanie Burke University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) recent graduate Melanie Burke has stayed involved in student organizations during the past four years.

The journalism and Spanish major’s eye for visual storytelling drew her to focus on digital media production while at the SOJC. Along with her coursework, Burke was a member of Envision Journalism, OR Magazine, OR Media, Booklandia, and the SOJC Science and Memory trip to Alaska.

Burke now takes a moment to reflect on her time at the SOJC.

What made you choose your current major?
I originally wanted to be a photographer. I took a few art classes in high school and, while I loved them, I couldn’t see myself doing it long term. I figured journalism would be the next place to go, and I fell in love pretty fast. I need a field that is going to challenge me but also provide the opportunity to never do the same thing twice. After the last two years in the SOJC I found that combination.


Melanie BurkeWhat is the most valuable thing you have learned while at the SOJC?
This is a really hard question. Two things come to mind that I think are equally important. First, the content you produce to tell a story—any story—has to have a reason for being the medium of choice. Some stories lend themselves to a written piece, some to a video, some to a photo essay and some to a combination of all three. If it’s the last option, you have to decide how those elements work to compliment rather than to repeat one another.

Second, if you want to learn how to do something new—video, post-production, lighting, reporting structure, etc.—ask the person who you think is best at it. Sometimes that may be a teacher, sometimes that is the student sitting next to you.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken and why?
Torsten Kjellstrand’s J466 Into the Evergreen. He pushed us as a team and as individuals. He had no problem with us doing projects that were a little less traditional and more about playing with different ways to present a narrative, which was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had.

Melanie BurkeWhat’s one piece of advice you have for younger students interested in your field of study?
If you’re miserable doing just one thing at a time, then you should probably be in journalism. Be kind, work hard, say yes. Pursue what scares you and remember to be honest.

What are your future goals/plans after graduation?
Take a nap, actually beat Kingdom Hearts 2 (I started that game at the beginning of my college education in 2010 and still haven’t finished it), then go to work someplace that’s unafraid to embrace new forms of storytelling.