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Sep 23, 2018
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Megan Rupe sits down with staffers from The Collegian as she reads a previous issue of the paper where she wrote the front page story. Rupe is an alumna of Fresno State and the MCJ department. (Alejandro Soto/The Collegian)

Local journalist says ‘knowing your community’ can make the difference

It was was pitch black on a Thursday.

The electricity went out at Fresno State in 2013. It was the perfect story for a budding student-journalist.

That was when Megan Rupe, now a reporter and anchor for KSEE 24, ran across campus to gather information and broke one of her first stories, which later was printed on the front page of The Collegian.

“That was such a cool day as a student, but that was wild,” Rupe said.

Journalism was not always Rupe’s career choice. She loved theater in high school and continued that passion when she entered college.

After one year in as a theatre arts major she told herself, “This is so fun for me to do, but I don’t know if this is what I want my life to be all about, every day.”

She then thought about the other skills she possessed and wondered what that next step would be. She knew she loved to write, present and communicate. All perfect skills for a broadcast journalist.

Then her mom gave her the idea.

“Well, why don’t you do the journalism thing,” she told Rupe, who was finishing her first few semesters at Fresno State. “You know, the TV version.”

And with that, Rupe enrolled in her first class in what was then the department of mass communication and journalism.

She took media law, taught by broadcast journalism professor Faith Sidlow, who is a former news anchor at KSEE 24.

That was when she realized how technical journalism was – something many people don’t understand, Rupe said.

“We don’t just talk – there’s so much that goes into every single day,” she said.

While moving forward as a student-journalist, Rupe had many opportunities to get hands-on experience. One of them being the arts and entertainment editor at The Collegian.

It was then that her passion for the arts collaborated with her new venture in media. She covered the arts in many aspects, including fashion, which was one of her first features in the paper.

She realized her writing was becoming much more than words on a paper.

“I’m telling a story. It’s not just questions and answers. Now I’m actually doing it,” Rupe told herself.

She also had internship opportunities, one being with her current employer, KSEE 24.

She started as an intern and moved up to a freelancer. She then would go out in the field and write the stories, and then bring them back to the studio for a reporter to audio track.

Her work was on air, but nobody really knew.

Rupe knew she had to land a real job, and with graduation approaching, she knew it had to be fast.

At that time, just down the street from KSEE 24, KMPH Fox 26 news was looking to hire a new reporter.

She took the chance and applied. She got an interview and even recorded a “fake live-shot” for executives to critique. Her high hopes were then shot down when it was realized she had no prior experience.

Although the reporter spot was gone, they did offer her a producing position. But Rupe knew that being in the studio was not what she wanted.

“My passion is being out in the field,” she said.

Later that day, she went back to KSEE 24, where she told her internship boss about the producing opportunity. He told her that they wanted to keep her at KSEE 24.

They had noticed endless amount of effort in the projects she was given. Soon after, she began as a “MMJ” or “multimedia journalist,” which means she shot, wrote and reported the stories all by herself.

She remembers her first assignment that went on air. It turned out to be every reporter’s worst nightmare.

“I hit the wrong button on the camera and all the video was in slow motion,” Rupe said. “So I could only use like 10 shots.”

Events like that helped her learn new things along the way. Rupe reports during the week but is in the “driver’s seat” on the weekends. She does the work of multiple people by herself as the weekend night anchor. She said she produces, times and reports the entire newscast.

Rupe said she owes her journey to her parents and those who supported her as a student-journalist at Fresno State. She said she takes pride in being from the central San Joaquin Valley and the opportunity to cover the news that happens in it.

She realizes that some Valley students may think there’s no future because they’re from a small town. But with Fresno growing by the year, the opportunities for locals become more plentiful, she said.

She said she knows firsthand the impact a community can have on one person.

“Never let people laugh at you for that or anything,” Rupe said. “Knowing your community is what can set you apart.”

 

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