By Stephanie Ball
Ivana Corsale is currently the production editor at Sympoz, an online learning community.
1. How and when did you become interested in journalism?
I became interested in journalism in early 2000 soon after I enrolled at Brookhaven. I had just moved from my home country, Italy, and I’ve always had an interest in English as a language since growing up. So, at first I took English literature and writing classes when I started at Brookhaven. My interest in writing continued to grow so I explored what options I had while I was at Brookhaven. Journalism was one of the first choices, probably because I was interested in writing, and writing about current social issues. So, at that point, the choice for me was obvious.
2. How long have you been in the field and when did you start?
I’ve been in the field of journalism since I started taking classes. I took advantage of every opportunity I had while at Brookhaven. I started writing for the Courier first and then moved up to the editor position. When I transferred to Southern Methodist University to complete my bachelor’s degree, I was involved with the school’s online platform for news, which at that time was called the SMU Daily Data. I also took an internship for Advocate Magazine in Dallas – a great experience that allowed me to do more feature writing. When I graduated, I was soon hired at The Dallas Morning News as assistant editor for a community news section of the paper called “neighborsgo.” So, I’d say between the time in school and after school, I’ve been in the field for about six to eight years. After my experience at The News, I learned quickly that working in video would be the next step for me. So, I am now fully involved in video production.
3. What have you learned while in the field?
I’ve learned that as technologies change, skills have to change and be up to date. I learned that in my first week at The Dallas Morning News as many employees were being laid off and a lot of the people who stayed were being trained to shoot and edit video. I learned that it’s vital to adapt and learn new skills to continue to build a solid career. As a journalist, I learned a lot from my subjects – how to gain their trust and ask the right questions at the right moment. These were important lessons for me that later on, and to this day, have helped me a lot in my video and documentary work.
4. What prepared you for your profession?
Working as a reporter and editor at the Courier has definitely taught me a lot of skills that I have used and still continue to use in my professional work. My internship at Advocate Magazine in Dallas helped me tremendously in my writing skills. And definitely my professional work at The News pushed me to go a step further and explore the possibilities in video.
5. What advice do you have for future journalists or media students?
Take as many internships as you can and learn as many skills as possible. Today the market demands that you do more than one thing and you do it well. Learn how to shoot and edit video and also learn how to produce your own videos. Explore your possibilities in short and long form videos – short form videos are very common for the Web but more and more we are seeing longer, in-depth video stories on the web. The skills that you learn as a reporter are perfectly applicable to producing videos. It is vital today to have those skills at hand in order to get a job.
6. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
This may not be a superpower, but if I could, I would produce more documentaries on issues that interest me. I need that magic power that can grant me more time in my life to do the things I truly enjoy doing, and right now one of those things is making documentaries.
7. What was your favorite memory at the Brookhaven Courier?
How could I ever forget the late nights during press week? Those were always unforgettable. I’m not sure if I have one particular memory. What I remember particularly is the bond that existed among the people in staff. Everyone was always on a good mood despite the long nights and the lack of sleep. Larie Engles was always a great supporter and mentor. She always had something good to say to cheer up the staff on stressful moments.
8. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I’ve always had a strong interest in foreign languages and my dream was to be on the Italian TV working as an interpreter and translator for big politicians and celebrities. I’m happy I picked a profession that allows me to stand behind the camera rather than in front of it.
9. Who is your inspiration and why?
I’ve had inspiring people at different stages of my life. Currently, I’m probably looking for some new inspiration. While in school, I had professors who were mentors for me and deeply inspired me to make certain decisions and led me to where I am today. While I was filming my most recent documentary in Italy, my inspiration was an Italian journalist who wrote a book about organized crime and inspired me to do a documentary on illegal waste disposal and its effects on the environment and population. So, I guess I don’t have one single inspiration, and it always varies depending on where I am and what I’m doing.
10. What are some challenges and advantages of your profession?
Today, I’m fully involved in video production. After working at The News, I went back to school to get a master’s degree in documentary production. My passion for documentary and video in general grew exponentially since then. The main challenge of working in video production is finding work. Most of the video work is on a freelance basis. It is difficult today to find a company that hires producers, video editors, shooters on a full-time basis. I feel very lucky to have found a full-time job in my field. So, I would say finding stable work is the main challenge. The great advantage is that every day at work is different and demands continuous creative thinking.