It’s one thing to land the job you want after college graduation. But it’s quite another thing to win an annual company award in your rookie year. A little more than a year after graduating from Huntington University in 2003, Jane Hodson found herself reporting at the murder scene of a man killed just outside of Greenfield, Ind. Her subsequent coverage of the murder earned her Story of the Year 2004 honors at the Greenfield Daily Reporter.
“I was at the scene that morning and have provided coverage from the investigation all the way through the arrests of the three individuals who conspired to have this man killed, through the final trial,” said Jane, a native of Greenfield. “I was there for every day for the trial, and, according to our editor and publisher, have provided the best coverage of any trial the Daily Reporter has ever done. This case proved to be the most difficult, yet most rewarding assignment I probably will ever get to cover.”
The Greenfield murder trial isn’t the only hard assignment Jane handled in her first year after graduating from Huntington. In her short time with the Daily Reporter, Jane also has covered a second murder, the arrest of an Iraqi intelligence officer living in Hancock County and the sudden and tragic deaths of two young girls under the age of four killed in vehicle accidents.
While at Huntington, Jane earned her bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in print media. As a student entering the highly competitive field of journalism, Jane says Huntington’s small class sizes and personal attention were a helpful advantage.
“I definitely believe that the single biggest advantage to attending Huntington was
the individual attention I could expect in every one of my classes,” she said. “The fact that my professors knew me and my strengths and weaknesses and were always available to answer a question or work through a concept is so invaluable.”
Jane credits three Huntington University professors, each from a different academic department, with helping provide the spiritual and academic preparation that she needed to survive in her journalism field.
“Dr. John Sanders taught me always to question and to look at the different aspects of my faith carefully and objectively without fear,” she said. “Dr. Dwight Brautigam brought the history of our faith to life and was an example of a community leader with integrity. Dr. Chris Leland, who left after my freshman year, was an inspiration who I missed dearly. He taught me to approach media with a critical eye, and to produce by applying that same criticism to my own work.”
Working in journalism sometimes means telling the truth of very tragic stories, but Jane’s faith serves as her comfort and inspiration for dealing with hard assignments.
“The only way I have gotten through many assignments on a given day is only by the grace of God,” Jane said. “If I didn’t have my faith, and the knowledge that life can be full of promise, I could not handle the tragedy that I witness every single day.”
As journalist who had handled a long list of hard stories in her rookie year, Jane encourages students to always ask the hard questions. “Never, ever be afraid to ask the tough questions — of yourself, of your faculty leaders and of your faith,” she said.
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