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By Mike Porter
VCU Communications and Public Relations
Samra Khawaja, a junior in the VCU School of Mass Communications, has been selected as one of 12 college students nationwide to help cover the presidential campaign for The Washington Post.
Her first contribution appeared May 4 on the newspaper’s online “Election 2012” political blog. In the story, which also includes video interviews, Khawaja asks students to compare the level of enthusiasm for the Obama 2012 campaign to his 2008 run for president.
“Samra Khawaja is an outstanding example of what our journalism students are capable of doing with the training they receive in the School of Mass Communications,” said Marcus Mesner, Ph.D., assistant professor. “Samra pitched her story to the editors of the Washington Post on Thursday afternoon and went right to work. Her story and video were published less than 24 hours later by one of the leading news organizations in the U.S.”
Khawaja, who is from Leesburg, was a student in Messner’s social media journalism class this semester. She said the experience sharpened her journalism skills and helped her to quickly complete her first story for the newspaper.
“I can certainly say through this class I have gained practical knowledge that I have been able to put to work. Just 12 hours after the end of my last class, I’m using what I learned in a practical way,” said Khawaja. “This class helps us to become top candidates when we are looking for internships and jobs.”
Khawaja, who is majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in political science and Spanish, ultimately hopes to become a reporter for CNN after she graduates next year. Messner said her VCU education and experience will boost her career prospects.
“She has mastered mobile reporting skills. She is now capable of doing on-the-spot, high quality reporting with mobile technology anytime and anywhere,” Messner said. “It’s those skills that are now in high demand and that make her an attractive student reporter for news organizations like the Washington Post.”
To see the entire story and video, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/ahead-of-campaign-kick-off-vcu-students-say-obama-needs-to-wake-up-virginians/2012/05/04/gIQA9ryW1T_blog.html.