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Janelle Dobson - '07 BS Mass Comm

Reporter - WJFW - Rhinelander, WI

Try, try and try again has been the motto for recent SIUE graduate Janelle Dobson. And her persistence has paid off. Dobson, who graduated in May 2007, was hired for her first job as a reporter and weather fill-in at WJFW, a news station based in Rhinelander, Wis. WJFW is a station located two hours north of Madison, Wis., and reaches about 8,000 viewers. "The thing I like most about my job is that I never know what it will entail," Dobson said. "Usually my weekend days are about 12 hours, but it flies by because I'm doing what I love."

janelle dobsonRecently, Dobson received a much welcomed surprise as she was assigned an exclusive interview with the single survivor of the Crandon shooting rampage, which occurred in October. "My package, with my standup and all, is on Newschannel," Dobson said. "CNN and any NBC affiliates could air it, which is so exciting. "

As a Mass Communications major with an emphasis in television and radio, Dobson was well prepared for the struggles associated with landing a first job in her field. "You are told over and over by professors that this business is difficult," Dobson said, "but in the back of my mind I still thought that it would be easy." Mass Communications professor Ralph Donald said that as an undergraduate Dobson was an excellent student and was ready for the professional world. "She took in everything we taught," Donald said. "She was one of our stars."

Although Dobson spent the summer sending more than 40 resume tapes and contacting station after station with little feedback, she never questioned the career she chose. "I wanted to have an effect on people," Dobson said, "a positive one." Finally, Dobson received the result she had been waiting for…her first call-back. Dobson arrived in Rhinelander for a one-day interview in which she had to shoot, edit, and write a package to air on the evening news. "I think the interview was a really great experience," Dobson said. "It prepared me for what I would be doing five days a week."

As an Illinois native, Janelle said the move to Wisconsin was a big one. "I've never been this cold in my life," Dobson said. "Unfortunately, I do a lot of stories outside, so I'm standing out there for hours just freezing. Last weekend I stood in a blizzard for hours. It was miserable, but worth it." Although Dobson has her first job, she has more plans for the future. "I really like reporting, but eventually I would love to become an anchor," Dobson said. "I also want to come back to St. Louis." As for now, Dobson is enjoying her life as a Wisconsin reporter. "Overall, I am so happy to be working in the industry," Dobson said. "This is what I wanted and now that I'm here, it's great. It's hard being in a new place without any friends or family, but you just have to make the best of it."

Originally printed in the Spring 2008 edition of the Mass Communicator. Story by SIUE student Stephanie Reckman.

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