Oakland University alumna Karen Workman has been named to Editor & Publisher’s 2013 list of the “Top 25 under 35,”
an annual feature that highlights young leaders in the field of newspaper publishing.
The 2007 journalism graduate was recognized for her exceptional work as a breaking news producer for Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome, based in New York City.
The Editor & Publisher feature showcases young journalists across the country who are making great strides in what is largely considered a struggling profession.
“I went into the journalism field at a very discouraging time in the industry. I was advised to change my classes, change my major, told I would never get a job,” Workman said.
Not to be discouraged, Workman forged ahead and found her own opportunities. At just 27, she has made a name for herself providing content for Digital First Media’s 57 daily newspapers and more than 200 non-daily publications. Her most notable brainchild is the Bizarre Blotter, a compendium of quirky and unusual police and crime stories across the country.
Before heading to the Big Apple, Workman spent nearly a decade reporting, editing, and providing social media and video reporting and training locally for the Journal Register and the Oakland Press.
“I always wanted to be a journalist and I never believed the industry would go away altogether,” she said. “It has been a very exciting journey. There is so much newness in the field, and so many opportunities to do something different, to change, to innovate, to grow.”
Her success comes as no surprise to Garry Gilbert, director of OU’s journalism program and former executive editor of the Oakland Press.
“If I could find a way to tap Karen's zeal for news reporting and her work ethic, I'd use it for transplants,” he said. “Karen came to class flat-out geeked every day about learning new skills and theories. She quickly grasped the remarkable possibilities for gathering and delivering news using digital media, and became a go-to resource for classmates and, later, her colleagues at the Oakland Press.”
When Workman was a student at OU, Gilbert and his wife Holly were especially influential. It was a time of great change in the industry, and journalism students and faculty alike were uncertain what to prepare for. Workman recalls how adjunct instructor Holly Gilbert left her class with the message to always be prepared and flexible for anything that may come up.
Now Workman routinely offers the same set of advice to new and aspiring journalists.
“Don’t box yourself in to any idea of what your career will be,” she said. “School gets you started, but to advance in your career, you have to look around you, see the industry change, see life change, and find the best way to tell a great story. We have more tools now than ever before to tell great stories – and to tell them in new ways.”
For more information about Oakland’s Communication and Journalism Department, view the website at oakland.edu/cj
. To learn more about Workman, read the article
by Editor & Publisher or view her website