FHN Graduate, Arkansas News Anchor Visits FHN Publications to Talk TV Journalism

Starting as an FHN journalism student focused on video, the Ft. Smith-based news anchor visits FHN to talk about her career.

Laura Simon

By Chase Meyer, Online Co-Editor in Chief

In classes throughout the day Dec. 7, FHN alumni Laura Simon visited and spoke to the FHN journalism classes. A 2008 graduate of the media program, Simon gave students a glimpse into her life as a television journalist.

“It’s really fun,” Simon said. “No day is ever the same. We’re going on a new, fun field trip every day.”

Continuing on to Columbia College in Chicago, the digital media student journalist was able to secure an internship with the Chicago Tribune and NBC Chicago. Those were experiences the graduate says she would never pass up. After graduating college, she moved on to begin her career as a TV journalist in Joplin, Missouri. Now reporting and anchoring in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, Simon has moved between four stations in her career.

“These are learning markets,” Simon said. “It’s a privilege to come to these communities and tell them their news.”

A journalist’s career is generally full of many ups and downs, and Simon learned that the hard way. After months of working in Joplin, she realized her workload was higher than what she was prepared for. She received a call from a station in Dubuque and soon traveled to tour the studio and take the job. Before moving to Ft. Smith, Simon was responsible for reporting on a large story for the day, then creating three more short stories before the evening newscast.

While she’s happy she moved on to a larger market, she is happy she experienced the smaller towns while she had a chance.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she said. “It’s taught me just how capable I am.”

She hopes her visit to the publications program that kindled her original interest in the career sparked interest in students currently on the journalism staff. Students were impressed on how far she had come in her career and were happy she was able to provide advice to those working to learn the job of a journalist now.

“She gave us advice that will help take us to the next level in our video journalism program,” Video Editor in Chief Brayton Larson said. “It was really good to have her back. She helped us with stand-ups and that’s going to be really good for the journalism program.”

The graduate acknowledged the journalism program and how it prepared her for her future in college and in her career.

“I still use the AP stylebook,” Simon said. “I learned how to use a camera. I wouldn’t have caught on as fast in college [if it weren’t for 026.] This just panned out really well and I was really happy to speak to all of the classes.”