Sutton Reekes ’20
Hometown: Midlothian, Va.
Major: Communication studies with a concentration in digital media; minor in history
Now that you have graduated from Longwood, what’s your next step?
I’m moving to Los Angeles this summer and then beginning a master’s program in journalism at the University of Southern California. I knew I wanted to continue my education and Los Angeles is my favorite city in the world! I fell in love with USC when I visited, and it was just the perfect fit for me. Everything I love really came together and fell right into place.
"My professors in the communication studies department went out of their way many times to help me prepare for my future, whether it was reading a paper, helping me come up with story ideas or critiquing my work to make me better."Sutton Reekes ’20 Tweet This
What is your ultimate career goal?
My goal is to be an entertainment news reporter at an entertainment news outlet like E! News. Entertainment news really is my passion. I absolutely love everything about it since it encompasses so many different topics. There are hard-hitting stories to tell in entertainment news, like on the topic of mental health. It is fast-paced and unpredictable, plus it has all the glitz and glam. Reporting entertainment news combines everything I love about news and storytelling, and I am so excited to begin my career.
Tell us about one professor and one class that helped you grow while at Longwood.
Professor Jeff Halliday in communication studies is one of the most caring professors, but he also pushes you past what you think you can do. Specifically, he pushed me to take a leap of faith and start my on-camera journey. I had been very insecure with my on-air abilities, and he was the one who encouraged me to forget being perfect. He told me to just be myself and everything would fall into place. After I began my on-air journey, a flood of opportunities came my way. Professor Halliday deserves the biggest thank you for that, because he believed in my reporting abilities before I did.
The class that was most memorable for me was Communication in a Diverse Society. We looked at privilege, identities, discrimination, inequality and other topics that can be uncomfortable, but are so important in our society. The class showed me how to see different perspectives, how to understand someone else’s story and how identities play a role in our lives. It’s important for journalists to know and understand these topics, and I am so glad the communication studies department offers this class and that I was able to take it. This class also really aided in my personal growth.
I came to Longwood not knowing becoming an on-air reporter was even an option in my future, yet I am leaving as a reporter about to embark on my career, and it’s all because of Longwood.Sutton Reekes ’20 Tweet This
How did Longwood help to prepare you for graduate school?
Longwood really helped me grow professionally and personally. There were so many different hands-on learning opportunities, like working with the marketing and communications office and being the host of Longwood’s social media videos. My professors in the communication studies department went out of their way many times to help me prepare for my future, whether it was reading a paper, helping me come up with story ideas or critiquing my work to make me better.
One of my biggest learning experiences was my internship at 8News in Richmond last summer. I shadowed different reporters, producers, anchors and editors. Each day I got to act like a mini reporter or producer, and make my own news packages, scripts and posts for social media. My internship made me fall more in love with the field, and it was an amazing opportunity.
I am so thankful for Longwood and the opportunities I found here. I came to Longwood not knowing becoming an on-air reporter was even an option in my future, yet I am leaving as a reporter about to embark on my career, and it’s all because of Longwood.
What will you miss the most from D-hall?
I am going to miss the salad and pasta bars the most. They’re both my favorites!