Alexander McCall is an editorial assistant with NPR in Washington, D.C. He began his public radio career with a production internship at WFAE Public Radio in Charlotte and later worked as a news producer and journalist with WFIU Public Radio and WTIU Public Television in Indiana.
Q. Why/how did you choose to major in journalism?
A. I dove into journalism headfirst. I’d transferred to App State from a small, liberal arts college where I intended to study theatre. I made the decision to change direction, and I felt like there were a lot of exciting opportunities in journalism. Writing had always been one of my strong suits.
Q. What was your minor?
A. I minored in English, which was an excellent match for journalism. Minoring in English gave me an opportunity to improve my creative writing ability. That translates really well in the news industry.
Q. What is your current job title and what are your roles and responsibilities?
A. I am an editorial assistant with NPR in Washington, D.C. I’m stationed in the organization’s programming division, where I focus on building audiences and boosting engagement for broadcast and digital content. One of my biggest responsibilities is laying out social media strategy for NPR’s ever-growing roster of podcasts, which means tailoring our online voice to the tone and sound of those programs. In addition, I write, edit and produce a variety of promos for NPR member stations across the country and handle web publishing for some of NPR’s acquired programs.
At the moment, I’m working on several long-term projects, too. We’re trying to improve and shape the way our newsroom uses social and digital media tools. It’s a thrill – there’s rarely a dull moment.
Q. How has your education from the journalism program helped you in your current job and past internship?
A. Small class sizes were an amazing advantage. I received plenty of personal attention from my professors, which was incredibly helpful in growing and refining my craft. My professors were dedicated to helping me become a skilled journalist.
They encouraged me to learn new things and pursue my interests, and that put me in a great place to start my career.
Q. If you could go back to when you were a freshman, what is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
A. I would tell myself to read, read and read some more, and I’d say the same for writing. You won’t improve your skills unless you’re practicing and absorbing all the incredible work that’s out there.
Q. What does your degree from Appalachian mean to you?
A. My degree from Appalachian means I had the opportunity to study with professors who cared not only about my education but about me, personally. It means I had an opportunity to broaden my perspectives with a liberal arts foundation – that foundation is a huge benefit when you’re taking classes in your major.
My degree from Appalachian means I received an education at a university that is committed to making sure its students have the skills to succeed in whatever field they pursue.