Former editor reflects on how the Herald helped her journalism career

Save Student Newsrooms

Margaret O'Malley

Working on the College Heights Herald gave me the confidence, experience and practical knowledge to be productive on the first day at my internships at the Louisville Times and Washington Post.

No time had to be wasted training me; I was ready to work. 

When I graduated early, I was able to start working in an editing position at the Dallas Times Herald, a job I had considered my five-year goal. Working in a student newsroom boosted me ahead those five years. 

After being editor of the college newspaper during my third year at Western Kentucky University, I had the freedom to gain knowledge of another important role in journalism and worked as a staff photographer for a semester.

Having that experience made me a much better professional journalist because I understood the difficulties in that job and better knew how to work with staff photojournalists to obtain the best photographs for the paper. Without a college newspaper, I would never have been able to do that. 

During my years at the Herald we tackled controversial stories. We learned to be professionals. We learned how to do our jobs from the first day we showed up at post-college newsrooms. 

I would never have had the journalism career I had dreamed of without the essential experience gained by my time on the College Heights Herald staff.

This letter is part of the #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement. A student-led campaign designed to bring attention to the challenges student newsrooms face.

Margaret O’Malley is a former Herald editor-in-chief for the spring 1981 semester.