Seniors from the Class of 2022 pose with The Muses adviser, Carly Gates, at graduation.
Seniors from the Class of 2022 pose with The Muse’s adviser, Carly Gates, at graduation.
Carly Gates

Beyond The Muse

How The Muse’s alumni have explored the journalism field after graduating

Graduated staffers and editors from The Muse have professionally pursued journalism at media organizations such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and People Magazine. Before establishing careers, they often study journalism at colleges and universities to develop the skills they have experimented with as staffers and editors on The Muse

Former coverage editor on The Muse Melodie Barrau stands in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. Former production managing editor Allison Robbert took this photo as part of Barrau’s internship at Congresswoman Lois Frankel’s office. “At the moment, my work in journalism is focused less on writing and creating content and more on understanding what constitutes media as a whole,” Barrau said. “The media, regardless of its ideological affiliations, shapes a lot of the way that average people engage with the political system.” (Allison Robbert)

George Washington University sophomore Melodie Barrau

Barrau feels that her time at The Muse assisted her in thinking critically, which she finds useful as a college student. Both from a journalistic standpoint and in general, she finds value in the ability to question the environment and the people around her.

“Being involved with journalism teaches you to be critical and to ask questions, which is incredibly important, not just career-wise but life-wise,” Barrau said. “On a more practical level, it obviously teaches you a lot about how to find and capture a story. There are a lot of different groups of people today who have all these amazing and important stories that go unheard. But being on The Muse, we were always encouraged to try and tell as many stories as accurately and truthfully as possible, and I think there is a lot of power and significance in that when you’re studying things critically in college.”

When she first started at The Muse, Barrau worked as both a business staffer and an opinion writer. She served as business editor, managing the staff’s fundraising and advertisements, in her junior year before moving on to be a coverage editor, overseeing writers and their content, as a senior. Rather than focusing on content creation in college, Barrau has shifted to studying the media’s impact on society. 

“In my major, political communication, we try to understand the effects that the media may or may not have, in the hopes of finding ways for the media to encourage people to critically engage with politics in a way that’s meaningful and respectful,” Barrau said. “It may not seem like it on the surface, but journalism and the media really do hold so much weight in our society. Not just nationally, but down to the local levels, journalism and the media are really our points of reference for how we engage with the world around us, so it’s important to try to understand what the media’s done to get us here today.”

Former co-editors-in-chief Olivia Metzler and Bridget Frawley cheer at the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s 2023 State Convention. (Sofia Hennessey-Correa)

Emerson College freshman Bridget Frawley 

Frawley worked on both The Muse newsmagazine and The Marquee yearbook. She served as one of The Muse’s coverage editors as a junior and co-editor-in-chief as a senior. For The Marquee, she worked both as a team leader, who managed writers, photographers, and designers, and as a proofing editor.

“I don’t think I’d be majoring in journalism if I wasn’t on The Muse,” Frawley said. “Being on the publication allowed me to be surrounded and supported by a group of talented individuals (who) pushed me to grow and develop my journalistic skills.”

Frawley anchors for Emerson’s station WERS 88.9 FM on Friday mornings. While host George Knight runs the morning show, Frawley writes up and delivers a newscast every half hour to update listeners on local and national news.

“After finding a love for journalism in high school, I knew I wanted to pursue it in college,” Frawley said. “Having additional journalistic resources available to me has allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone of print and try (broadcast) journalism as well. Being in Boston has also opened so many doors to new stories waiting to be uncovered.”

Former content team editor on The Muse Shreya Srinivasan graduated in 2022. Srinivasan now produces content covering city life in Evanston, Illinois, where she attends college at Northwestern University. (Photo illustration courtesy of The Muse)

Northwestern University sophomore Shreya Srinivasan

When Srinivasan joined The Muse, she focused on producing multimedia content but dabbled in writing as well. She served as a content team editor (CTE) for two years, which required experience across different sections since CTEs edit writing, photography, and multimedia. Now, as assistant city editor, who focuses on covering what happens in Evanston, Illinois (where Northwestern is located), and diversity and inclusion editor at The Daily Northwestern, she appreciated the opportunity to explore multiple disciplines as a CTE on The Muse

The Muse is very collaborative, more so than a lot of college papers in my opinion,” Srinivasan said. “It’s a lot different than what I do now. The Daily Northwestern is a daily paper, so there are multiple stories coming out every day. The deadlines are strict and tight, meaning I’m constantly trying to find my next source and interviewing. I write about two to three times a week. It is a very print-focused paper, and I’ve become more of a print-focused journalist, so I will say I’ve had less opportunity for more multimedia pieces. I think the training I got at The Muse really helps me think with more interdesk (interdisciplinary types of coverage) collaboration in mind.”

Former production managing editor on The Muse Lexi Critchett smiles, ready to photograph the 2022 Fall Festival. (Sofia Hennessey-Correa)

George Washington University freshman Lexi Critchett 

Before working on The Muse, Critchett didn’t expect to pursue journalism. It wasn’t until her first in-person shoot in her sophomore year as a photo staffer at a Black Lives Matter march that she realized it was something that she wanted to continue.

“I was able to see firsthand the impact we had on the community and knew instantly it was the kind of challenge and responsibility I wanted to continue working with,” Critchett said. “I continued pushing myself to dig deeper in the community from there and fell more and more in love with the stories it showed me and how much more connected I felt to everyone around me.”

After a year as a photo staffer, Critchett went on to serve as photo editor as a junior and production managing editor as a senior. She uses her experiences as both a staffer and editor on The Muse to understand both viewpoints of the content creation process in college journalism.

“Working as a photographer and an editor showed me how to work within a team to produce the best work possible, the mindset and approach I still use today (as a staff photographer) with the GW Hatchet,” Critchett said. “The Muse was definitely more hands-on in terms of how involved I was in the entire process of production, whereas now I just take an assignment and send my photos to the editors without much say in if or how they get published. (The) Muse gave me a voice in creation, which I really appreciated, but having worked as an editor helps me now better understand what my editors are looking for.”

Former content team editor on The Muse Samantha Cohen graduated in 2022. Although she focused on producing written content in high school, she has since explored other forms of journalism such as broadcast through USC’s student-led news organization, USC Annenberg Media. “It’s (broadcast journalism) a new side to journalism that I’m experimenting (with) now because in (USC Annenberg Media) you have to go both routes,” Cohen said. “You have to do broadcast. You have to do radio. You have to do print.” (Photo illustration by The Muse)

University of Southern California (USC) sophomore Sam Cohen

Cohen “fell in love” with writing around fourth grade. She fostered this interest through her work on Bak Middle School of the Arts’ newspaper, The Portfolio, before joining The Muse as a writer for the sports, features, and culture sections. For both her junior and senior years, she led her staffers as a CTE while still pursuing her own coverage projects.

“Words are the prettiest thing ever,” Cohen said. “If you have a platform to portray your words, to shed light into something, to help the public good, and educate people, I think that’s the power of journalism. I love talking to people. I love interviewing people and getting to know their story to share a story.”

Cohen joined The Daily Trojan during her freshman year. She credits her experience on The Muse with exposing her to regular newsroom tasks such as brainstorming story ideas with collaborators and sending stories through drafts for edits. Her previous knowledge also allowed her to explore new forms of journalism such as broadcast and radio as a Multimedia Journalist for USC Annenberg Media.

The Muse did a great job of teaching me how to make relationships through my writing and how to collaborate on projects,” Cohen said. “Being able to collaborate with my peers, not just through the editing process but through pitching, through brainstorming, through giving interviews, and co-writing, (was a) huge help.”

Former production managing editor on The Muse and co-editor-in-chief on The Marquee Isabella Ramírez speaks at Columbia Daily Spectator’s 36th Annual Awards Dinner. Ramírez is Columbia Daily Spectator’s 148th editor-in-chief. “While many of the skills I learned in Dreyfoos’ publications have directly transferred to my work now, (Columbia Daily) Spectator is unique in that we are an independent, nonprofit newsroom operating outside of the University’s purview,” Ramírez said. “This is to say that all of our editorial and business operations are separate from Columbia’s oversight, and we are entirely student-run.” (Photo courtesy of Isabella Ramirez)

Columbia University junior Isabella Ramírez 

In high school, Ramírez worked on both publications, serving as The Muse’s production managing editor and The Marquee’s co-editor-in-chief. The skills she learned from her time on both publications helps her fulfill her current role as the Columbia Daily Spectator’s editor-in-chief. 

“When I was in high school, people thought I was crazy to juggle both publications at once, but the combination made me multifaceted, which is integral to my work as (Columbia Daily) Spectator’s editor-in-chief,” Ramírez said. “I know how to write, report, edit, use Adobe (software), photograph, design layouts, manage budgets, create spreadsheets and organizational materials, and much, much more because of (The) Muse and (The) Marquee. (The) Marquee pushed me the most to do a little bit of everything due to the nature of the creation process of a yearbook, and (The) Muse taught me a lot about management, leadership, organization, and traditional news writing.”

Ramírez acknowledges her growth throughout her time in the journalism field — starting out as a middle school journalist and moving to college journalism. The transition between high school publications to Columbia has contributed to her development as a journalist, leading her to new opportunities such as reporting for Politico at The Capitol and White House.

“High school Isabella could have only dreamed of where I am now,” Ramírez said. “While I was deeply involved in journalism at Dreyfoos, I would have never guessed that it would become such a crucial part of my life and career. Coming to Columbia and living in New York City, where the opportunities feel endless, seemed so far away as a high schooler leading a newsmagazine and yearbook.”

Former content team editor on The Muse Riley Flynn graduated in 2023. Flynn worked as a multimedia staffer, creating content such as videos and podcasts, for two years. (Photo illustration courtesy of The Muse)

University of Central Florida (UCF) freshman Riley Flynn:

As a sophomore and junior, Flynn worked as a multimedia staffer at The Muse. She hosted the On the Double podcast with fellow staffer Dylan Dam before serving as a CTE in her senior year. Besides her work in content creation, she credits The Muse for teaching her other skills that she finds useful, not just regarding journalism, but in general.

The Muse teaches you how to act professionally because we take the profession so seriously,” Flynn said. “I know some other high school publications that do not take themselves as seriously, and I think that (acting professional) is the most beneficial thing. Even if you don’t practice journalism in college, you’re learning to be a professional person.”

Flynn is majoring in media management and production, which aligns with food, sports, and fashion journalism. She has filmed videos for the UCF wrestling team on Instagram and hopes to apply to work with Her Campus, a pop culture magazine affiliated with more than 380 universities. 

Former production managing editor on The Muse Allison Robbert graduated in 2022. Robbert also worked as a photographer for The Marquee yearbook. (Photo illustration courtesy of The Muse)

George Washington University sophomore Allison Robbert:

Robbert worked on The Muse as design editor in her junior year, and production managing editor her senior year; she also worked on The Marquee as a photo staffer. Robbert has built off these experiences and now serves as a photojournalism intern with The Hill, a newspaper and digital media company based in Washington, D.C. Shifting from a high school publication to photographing events involving Congress, the White House, and other Washington, D.C.-based political events allowed Robbert to work on a bigger, national scale and put more energy into her craft.

“I have found that the best way to approach the professional journalism industry is through consistently doing the tedious and repetitive work as well as being present,” Robbert said. “I commit a lot of my free time to working and taking on extra projects to expand my portfolio and work alongside journalists I look up to. The real industry is so much larger than our high school ecosystem, and learning the rules and making relationships is a whole different game, but it’s an amazingly rewarding experience.”

Former co-editor-in-chief on The Muse Alissa Gary graduated in 2022. Gary studies journalism as a sophomore at the University of Florida. (Photo illustration by The Muse)

University of Florida (UF) sophomore Alissa Gary:

Gary served as The Muse’s multimedia editor as a junior and co-editor-in-chief as a senior. Now, as Gary reports for The Independent Florida Alligator at UF, she recognizes how her time as a high school journalist has contributed to her college journalism experience.

“Working on The Muse was an enormous benefit to doing college journalism,” Gary said. “First and foremost, I had a decent understanding of AP Style, which already does a huge service for editors. It’s so much easier for them if there (are) fewer style errors to clean up. Same with using (the) inverted pyramid, active verbs, eliminating unnecessary ‘that’… all of those minor things that make journalistic writing different from other types. The biggest learning curve in college is becoming a better reporter, not necessarily a better writer.”

The transition from working on a high school newsmagazine to working on a college newspaper has given Gary the opportunity to try developing skills that she didn’t previously concentrate on.

“The biggest difference between (The) Muse and a college paper is the quality of the reporting and the focus on journalism itself,” Gary said. “There’s a smaller focus on layout and design and more on writing for web. I feel like I’ve learned how to conduct better interviews, get more details, and really find angles to my stories in college.”

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Yemaya Gaspard
Yemaya Gaspard, Production Managing Editor
Yemaya Gaspard is a third-year staffer and production managing editor on The Muse. She enjoys analyzing her surroundings, giving advice to those who ask, and proving people wrong. She takes pride in accurately guessing zodiac signs and her strong intuition. Besides editing for the publication, she encourages everyone to hustle and bustle through their deadlines with a smile.
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    Joe HumphreyApr 19, 2024 at 11:20 am

    Yemaya did a great job telling so many stories.