Jessie Rae Price ’18 realized she wanted to be a broadcast journalist during high school while leading assemblies for 2,000 of her peers. Instead of feeling anxious, talking in front of people gave her adrenaline. This excitement led Price to proactively take steps toward achieving her journalistic goals.
While at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, she learned how to make a career out of her innate curiosity, interest in pop culture and strong social skills. Now, Price lives in Los Angeles and continues to embrace her love for entertainment news while working toward her dream of hosting a lifestyle show.
Did you ever feel nervous about going down an untraditional journalistic path?
I felt a little judged for pursuing entertainment, or what some people say is “glorified gossip.” I held back my first two years at the UO, and instead would interview people about topics that local news covered, but that never genuinely caught my interest.
I do think I was nervous, but I will never regret trying out an “untraditional” path. I love that I’m in the sunny, big, energetic city of L.A. I’d rather be here getting off-camera work experience than in a small market doing on-camera local news. I like the quote “Don’t be afraid of failing. Be afraid of not trying.”
In what ways did the SOJC influence your career path?
The SOJC helped me learn how to be an ethical journalist. My professors hammered home the importance of unbiased journalism and taught us how to be media literate. I'm very aware of how the facts, angles, biases and quotes can play a role in every published piece.
The SOJC also had so many tools and classes available to help me explore my interests. I produced a creative show for Duck TV my junior year, where I and 10 others told four UO students' stories. That was an excellent experience for me because I learned how to use a DSLR [camera] and write a narrative arch from our interview quotes. Duck TV and the SOJC helped me recognize my passions and grow my skill set, which pushed me down the right path.
Every one of my professors in the SOJC experience was passionate about journalism. They wanted to be there and shape the future of our field. They were all so committed and passionate. Every. Single. One.
Is there a specific SOJC moment that stands out?
Receiving Ann Curry's scholarship in 2017 was inspiring. She is an icon and a force in this industry. To be recognized and given her scholarship made me feel seen and heard. I felt like the SOJC saw I had these dreams of anchoring "Good Morning America" or the "Today" show and wanted to boost encouragement by giving me her scholarship. Receiving it meant more to me than any other SOJC awards because it was Ann Curry's. She is a legend in my eyes, and I like to think the faculty knew that when deciding on recipients.
Did you have a class or an experience with any SOJC professors who encouraged you to pursue entertainment news?
I'm grateful to have gone on the Super-J New York City trip with professor of practice Damian Radcliffe and senior instructor Lisa Heyamoto. Before that trip, I hadn’t seen many examples of human-interest journalism throughout my time at the SOJC. This made it hard for me to visualize how I could navigate the entertainment world. As a student pursuing broadcast journalism, I was told the first job out of college is in a small market where you cut your teeth and cover local news, but that never spoke to me. I've always liked pop-culture.
So when we visited media outlets, such as Delish and Glamour, I saw entertainment industries were indeed out there and creating popular content. It encouraged me to get creative with what my journalism career path could look like as I navigated toward on-air hosting and reporting. I'm so thankful for that experience and for Damian and Lisa, who pushed us to think outside the traditional box.
Can you tell me about your role at E! News?
I’m a production assistant for the social media team at E! News, so I help out with the E! Instagram stories. My job includes pulling assets for production, like photos and b-rolls. Then I send it to a video editor, who throws it all together and creates the 9x16 videos you see on Instagram. It’s great because I’m learning a lot about social media, but it’s not entirely what I want to do. This is a great foot in the door for me. Someday, I want to host a lifestyle show and talk to my guests about a wide range of things, from silly, light-hearted topics to the deep, more meaningful stuff.
Do you have any advice for current SOJC students?
Ask yourself what will make you happy and listen to what you have to say. Lean into whatever it is that's calling your name and create ways to make your goals happen. Try to be proactive and create opportunities for yourself instead of waiting for someone to guide you to the opportunity. It's cliche, but it's true: If you can think it, you can do it. It took me far too long to believe that with my heart.
By Elizabeth Groening, class of '21
Elizabeth Groening ’21 is a journalism graduate student at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. She writes lifestyle pieces about pop culture, women’s rights, music and entertainment. Read more of her work at elizabethgroening.com.