Dr. Jennifer Greer need not verbally utter any detail regarding the extent of her success in journalism. By simply taking a look around her office in the Journalism Department at the University of Alabama, one can resolve that Dr. Greer’s journalism career has been nothing short of admirable. Adorning the walls of her fourth floor office, various plaques and certificates give undeniable evidence of Dr. Greer’s commendable success. Beginning with her Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and continuing on to her Ph.D. from the University of Florida, Dr. Greer has achieved a long list of accomplishments, especially in the field of journalism. In fact, Dr. Greer has spent the majority of her life successfully learning to be a journalist.
Most people discover a profound passion for something following their education or experience with that subject. Dr. Greer, however, found her passion for journalism long before taking any journalism-related classes. “I, along with a friend, produced a magazine for the neighborhood when I was 8 years old,” says Greer as a brief expression of nostalgia flickers across her face. Greer remembers, “I always watched the show about Lou Grant’s newspaper, and I thought the news room looked like fun.” Dr. Greer says that the appearance of the day-to-day, chaotic, exciting newspaper business inspired her to create, by hand, a newsletter of her own which she delivered to the neighborhood families. By the time Dr. Greer had entered middle school, her writing skills were superior to others her age. “In the fifth grade, I wrote an essay about why I wanted to be a journalist,” Dr. Greer explains. “My teacher commented on how good I could write and encouraged me to follow my dreams.” Dr. Greer accredits this teacher to having a major impact on her decision to continue upon the pathway towards a journalism career.
It was not until high school that Dr. Greer actually acquired any formal journalism experience. “When I entered high school, I wrote for the newspaper. I also worked on the school’s yearbook staff,” says Dr. Greer with a look of satisfaction in her eyes. Through partaking in these journalism experiences, Dr. Greer acquired the basic journalism skills she needed in order to become successful. After participating in those activities during her high school career, Dr. Greer knew she wanted to further explore the world of journalism. Dr. Greer also knew that there existed only one place where she wanted to obtain a higher education. “The University of Missouri-Columbia is actually the only university I applied to,” she explains with a slight implication in her voice that suggests she still believes it was the only place for her. During her junior year at the university, Dr. Greer began writing for a community newspaper. This important experience was carried over into her senior year as well.
Following her college graduation, Dr. Greer was awarded an internship at the Kansas City Star. At...