Karen Hopkins Pinkston Headshot

Reporting Skills Learned at WOUB are Vital to Communications Consultant

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Karen Hopkins Pinkston graduated in 2008

ATHENS, OH – When Karen Hopkins Pinkston came to Ohio University from Cincinnati in 2004, she was in dogged pursuit of a dream that she had since childhood – to become a television news reporter.

“I would get asked to make a poster for a school project, and I would ask if I could do a video project instead,” said Hopkins Pinkston chuckling. “I would dress up as a news reporter and interview people. I always wanted to be a television news reporter.”

So, she said it was a no brainer that Ohio University was the place for her to go to college.

“Everyone raved about the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and it was the only place I applied. I didn’t even consider another option.”

When Hopkins Pinkston arrived on campus, she wasted no time getting to the WOUB newsroom.

“I started working on radio news, and I had to be in the newsroom at six o’clock in the morning,” said Hopkins Pinkston. “Everyone was sleeping in my dorm, and it was dark. I lived at the bottom of Jeff Hill. I didn’t want to get up, but I knew that this was what I needed to do to achieve what I wanted to achieve. I really learned how to dig for stories.”

Hopkins Pinkston said she gained valuable hands-on experience in radio and television news while working at WOUB and learned about the realities of the news industry.

“WOUB gives you a taste of the business. I really liked the emphasis WOUB put on the nuts and bolts of journalism and storytelling,” said Hopkins Pinkston. “There are a lot of people that think they want to be a news reporter, but don’t realize it’s not glamorous. It’s a lot of hard work. Being a reporter is about serving the community and finding the stories. WOUB taught me that.”

After graduating in 2008, Hopkins Pinkston landed her first job as a TV reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana.

“It was a medium size television market, and I credited my ability to get that job to WOUB,” said Hopkins Pinkston. “I had the experience I needed because I was able to work at WOUB, a small market TV station, while I was in college.”

After nearly two years in Shreveport, Hopkins Pinkston got a new job as a reporter in Norfolk, Virginia. She was eventually promoted to weekend anchor.

“I worked there for about five years. But, the anchoring wasn’t as fulfilling to me as the reporting, and I eventually realized I was ready for a change.”

That’s when she accepted a position as the communications director at the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.

“I had an incredible experience at that job because I think public relations at the government level really needs good reporters. A lot of good stories don’t get out because the government agencies don’t have reporters working for them. I knew what a good story was, what kind of information reporters needed and the kinds of stories to pitch to the news media.”

Hopkins Pinkston got her Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University in 2017 and is now using her reporting and media skills as a public relations consultant.

“I still use the skills I learned at WOUB every day. Writing, storytelling and hard work are really the key to making an impact. You can be in journalism or public relations, but if you’re not a good writer and storyteller, you’re not going to reach people and make an impact.”