From Career-Ready to Camera-Ready

Kent State University journalism alumnae Erin Simonek, ‘20, and Madison Tromler, ‘20, are making waves as anchors and reporters at WFMJ-TV in Youngstown, Ohio. Graduating amidst the challenges of COVID-19, they joined the station the same year, seamlessly transitioning into their roles, first as multimedia journalists. Within a week on the job, they were on the airwaves, and within a year, they earned promotion to the station’s evening anchors.

“We didn't need any in-depth training (at the station),” said Simonek. “They were almost surprised at how much we knew coming out of college and how well-equipped our minds were.”

Both of their journeys began with an interest in journalism in high school; while they didn’t know each other at the time, they were individually drawn to the School of Media and Journalism because of its reputation and the opportunity to get involved in student media organizations.

“I heard great things about TV2 and Kent State, so I knew it was going to be great,” said Tromler. “But it was even better than I expected, and it really proved to me that this was the career for me. The professors, the mentors and the advisors are so supportive.”

Both were involved in Student Media throughout their four years and had countless opportunities to report on real stories, including interviews with Kent State’s President Todd Diacon. Just months into their professional careers, they continued to interview presidents, albeit on a larger scale. Simonek reported on former President Donald Trump, while Tromler interviewed President Joe Biden just before his election.

Both credit Kent State’s supportive environment with much of their success.

“Everyone wants to see you succeed, and that could be coming from professors, that could be coming from peers and classmates,” said Simonek. “Everyone is rooting for each other.”

POSTED: Wednesday, April 3, 2024 02:29 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2024 10:45 AM
Eve Krejci, '24