Real-World Journalism at the State News

photo gallery
photo gallery
photo gallery

The State News was created in 1909 to combat the negative perception of student journalists working in the local press. Since then, it has become an award-winning weekly print newspaper and online media operation where you can find breaking news, Spartan sports coverage, campus and community news, opinions and features. It’s also brimming with ComArtSci students getting their feet wet in a fast-paced, real-world press setting. 

At the State News, students from a variety of majors are submerged in an environment in which they learn by doing. While a college curriculum is a crucial foundation, the communications field is one of demonstrated ability according to Omar Sofradzija, an assistant professor within the J-School and the newspaper’s editorial advisor.

“I think it’s important for any student in any communication niche to look at outside opportunities, to build upon what they’ve learned and practiced in class and show the world through their portfolios what they can accomplish,” said Sofradzija. 

A Newsroom Open to All 

The State News has a variety of positions available for full-time Michigan State students. While having plenty of media experience is certainly helpful to get your foot in the door, it’s not necessary. 

“Any sort of classwork that shows writing, photography and video skills, that shows curiosity and a willingness to act upon curiosity, work that shows your analytical skills and your ability to make sense of complex things and turn it into plain language are things that can certainly help you get hired,” said Sofradzija. 

Once students land a position, it’s a great opportunity to grow both their skill set and their portfolio. Advertising junior Caitlin McCamant is a creative designer for the State News and works on advertisements, infographics for stories and even the redesign of the website.

“It’s a good step into the real world,” said McCamant. “I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from the people around me and I’ve learned about more than just advertising. I’ve learned about web development and newspaper editorials. It’s a good experience.”

State News Community

Everyone joins a community in college, whether it’s Greek life, Ski Club or one of the many intramural sports teams. For Journalism senior and editor-in-chief Rachel Fradette, the State News became her collegiate community. 

“And I’m glad I found it,” said Fradette. 

For English senior Casey Holland, who also serves as the newspaper’s copy chief and is going on her fifth year with the State News, the level of camaraderie is the best part of working there every day.

“None of these people are the same people who were here when I started out, but they’re still just as much my family,” said Holland. “All the late nights, the headache stories and the breaking news rushes are made bearable by the people you’re conquering all this with.” 

Rewarding Work

Joining the State News is a chance to take the things you learn in the classroom and apply them to real-world situations. Journalism junior Jon LeBlanc worked his way from features to sports reporter before finding his place as the sports editor. 

“We have this saying, ‘You get out of this place what you put into it,’” said LeBlanc. “It’s really cliche, but if you work hard, you’re going to get a lot of clips, you’re going to get really good work and you’re going to be really successful.”

Fradette believes that the State News is by far the best experience you can get while at MSU if you want to be a journalist. Their large, well-established alumni base seems to validate her claim.

“We have so many students that are here right now that are going onto great internships this summer or have been hired at jobs in years passed,” said Fradette. “Some of our alumni are at the New York Times and a variety of other places.”

For Sofradzija, the most rewarding part of overseeing the newsroom is watching students evolve. 

“Some grow incrementally and some grow tremendously,” said Sofradzija. “But everyone who sticks around here for some period of time improves. They get closer to being the journalist, and Spartan, that they aspire to be.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets