Alumni Q&A: An Interview with Treasure Roberts

ComArtSci Alumna Treasure Roberts, who earned a B.A. in Journalism and Media and Information, is already taking charge of her career as she achieves big in the journalism world. Since January of 2019, Roberts has worked as a News Reporter at WMBD/WYZZ in Central Illinois. Roberts has also been featured on Today News for inspiring other Black women to wear their hair in braids on-air. Before graduating in 2018, Treasure Roberts secured eight internships and she once served as the president of the MSU Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

At Michigan State University, we invited her to share her experiences in a Q&A with ComArtSci.

Q. When you look back at your life and work so far, what gives you the most pride?

A. I had a dream, I set a goal, and I chased it as if my life depended on it. Regularly, I reflect on the time where I’d watch reporters on television. I aspired to be just like them. I was told the industry was competitive. Instead of being discouraged, I chose motivation. I took on the challenge without caution. I worked hard to be where I am today. Knowing all my hard work and perseverance landed me in the very spot I used to dream about is what gives me the most pride. It’s only up from here.

Q. What inspires you to work toward your goals and accomplishments?

A. It's knowing this is only the beginning that pushes me to work hard, every day. I made it, but I didn’t make it. There’s more work left to do. There are more goals to reach. I am proud of how far I have come, but I am not content where I am. I have bigger dreams I intend on reaching. That’s fuel to my fire.

Q. Could you describe a typical day in your professional life?

A. A typical day in my professional life begins with devotionals at home. I must prepare my mind for another day that could potentially be stressful. I arrive at work and head into the station editorial meeting. Members of our news team take turns pitching story ideas. I make three lead-able story pitches a day, on average. After we’re assigned tasks from the assignment editor we disperse and start making calls and sending emails to set up our stories. I spend the rest of the day gathering interviews and information. From then on, I begin writing my story so my photographer can edit it together before showtime. I present my stories live on-air in our early-evening shows every day.

Q. What are some of the greatest challenges and opportunities working in your field?

A. It’s a high-stress job. You’re given multiple tasks and are required to finish all of them before the deadline. You must be able to work fast and efficiently. Curve balls have been thrown my way and I have to pivot to get my stories on air. The situations I’ve been put in haven’t always been easy. Approaching families who’ve just lost a child and asking for an interview isn’t ideal, but it is my job. I’ve had to learn how to maneuver tense situations. Also, in an era where people are taught to hate the media often people give me a hard time.

Q. What would you consider to be the defining point in your life or career?

A. On the job, I have inspired people, motivated people and helped change lives.

Q. What is the most important lesson you have learned along the way?

A. Don’t lose yourself. Be unapologetically you. Be kind always. Do what you love and love what you do. Give your best, but don’t give all of you. Learn how to do it all. Practice self-care. Stop for a moment just to look back at how far you’ve come and keep moving forward.

Q. What opportunities did you have at MSU or ComArtSci that helped you get where you are today?

A. Focal Point News set me up for success. The study abroad and internships abroad program gave me much-needed experience and made me more marketable. The organizations I joined molded me into a leader. The journalism school as a whole was great. I’ll never forget the professors that poured into me.

Q. How do you give back to your community or motivate others to work toward the common good?

A. I help people where I can. Helping others doesn’t always have to be planned. It can be a spontaneous act of service. It could be smiling at or complimenting someone you don’t know. That person could have been having the worst day of their life and the smile you flashed was all they needed to pick themselves up. I ask people about their mental health. I encourage others to be kind always because you never know what someone is going through.

Q. What advice would you give to MSU and ComArtSci students?

A. Believe in yourself. Never let someone discourage you from chasing your dreams. You only have one life to live, make the best of it. Take advantage of all the resources and time you have in school. After college, resources and time become sparse. Look for internships EARLY. Strive for excellence. Work hard, play hard.

Q. If you could offer a message of comfort or support, what would you say directly to students who are studying at MSU in these uncertain times?

A. I know this isn’t your ideal school year. It’s not an ideal year for anyone honestly. You might not be able to change your situation, but you can change your attitude. Your attitude can be the reason you either hate life or enjoy it. It’s all about your mindset. Take this time to get to know yourself. Love yourself.

Q. From your experience in the global pandemic, what would you most like to share with the Spartan community?

A. I learned that I need to put myself first. This year I experienced burn-out. I reached a point where I was moody, unmotivated, tired and not feeling myself. People outside the news industry might have the option to turn off the TV when they’ve had enough. However, journalists nationwide were on the front lines reporting on COVID-19 and the multiple deaths of Black people. Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t get a break. I wasn’t taking the necessary steps to recharge. Finally, I took days off work for my mental health. I realized it’s okay for me to take a respite. I began to feel myself again. It’s okay to work hard but remember if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to work at all.

By Demetria Bias

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