This article was originally published in the Hunter College Film & Media Studies Department blog.
In early October, award-winning journalist Anna Louie Sussman came to Hunter for an intimate lunch and discussion with some of Hunter’s most promising journalism students.
Sussman’s career spans decades of notable work reporting on business, economics, politics, and reproductive health. She has written for publications such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times and is currently writing a book, Inconceivable: Reproduction in an Age of Uncertainty. She spoke to students about her career, both the ups and the downs, and spearheaded a conversation on media consumption and pop culture.
“I wanted to become a journalist because there were so many stories I wanted to tell,” she told the students. “I love the opportunity to get to speak to people I normally never would.” She said she liked the fast-paced nature of the work, and the autonomy it affords. “When you find an interesting story you have to challenge yourself to find out why.”
She encouraged students to be savvy and thoughtful media consumers. From the Kardashians to Taylor Swift, they discussed how pop culture affects our worldview, and how the media shapes the narrative. They discussed how students can dissect and break down the real stories behind the headlines, learn how to digest media in its entirety, understand nuance, and research and report on a topic through one’s own habits of consumption.
Sussman spoke about her late start in journalism, and how, by finding her niche, she was able to get published in The New Yorker, her dream publication. When asked what motivated her to push through the beginning of her career, she recalled a time when she considered applying to be a research assistant. When one of her colleagues told her that she shouldn’t be working for someone else, but doing her own research and writing, she realized her voice mattered. She hasn’t stopped using it.