Jack Rodgers

Jack placed 10th in the 2019-2020 Hearst Narrative Video Storytelling Competition
Graduation year
Elmhurst, Illinois

What is your major and what made you decide to pursue it?
I have always been a visually creative person so photography and filmmaking have been natural complements to that part of myself. By pursuing a Journalism major, I have learned how I can take these skills and use them in a way that helps me ask questions, connect with people and have community impact.

What has been your favorite part of your experience at the Hubbard School?
The opportunities afforded to me to take my learning into my own hands through field based learning and workshops. So much of the journalistic process requires meeting and connecting with people and that can only be done outside the classroom. In addition, the opportunity to work with professionals in the industry right now have been fantastic. HSJMC maintains so many great connections with media in the Twin Cities and being able to take part in something like the Mentor Program has been amazing. 

What journalism class or professor has had the biggest impact on you?
Regina McCombs has always made herself available and been an amazing resource. She’s taken so much time outside of class to help me learn and grow and offered insights that no one else can. There have also been so many other great professors who are eager and have taken great care to help us students, the next generation, prepare for a career in journalism. 

What minors, internships, or activities are you pursuing outside of your major? How do you think these enhance your study of Journalism and/or your future career plans?
I’ve spent the last three years as a photographer and videographer at the Minnesota Daily, where I now serve as the Multimedia Editor. This experience has been invaluable for me as I’ve gotten to practice real-world skills in collaboration with journalism courses. Now, as an Editor, it feels great to be able to help facilitate this process for others and help them learn as well. 

What Journalism course would you recommend for other students in your major?
I would recommend any of the skills based courses regardless of the communication track you are in. The ability to work hands on and in deep collaboration with other students is not only enjoyable, but super valuable experience to have in any capacity.

What is your dream job?
I really want to continue to practice photo and video journalism to the full extent. To have a profession that allows you to be creative, serve the community, meet amazing people and learn about the world is an incredible gift. 

What advice do you have for future Hubbard School students?
Build genuine connections and work hard! Your teachers have a wealth of knowledge available and they very much want to share it with you. In addition, your peers are going to share your enthusiasm for this field and you may one day find yourself reconnecting with them. That enthusiasm, along with a persistence to continue, is how awesome things get accomplished. 

What is one aspect of your major that surprised you/you did not know about?
How journalism is very much a public service. While media can take many forms and often sensationalize, journalism and genuine storytelling has the opportunity to be the first draft of history. And perhaps the greatest thing I’ve learned about the career path I’m entering is the importance of empathy and ability to listen being so much more important than any technical skill. 

What do you wish you had known about your career path before now?
How valuable the ability to listen really is. My initial approach with photography was to search for what was visually interesting and how storytelling could follow. That process has reversed for me now and begins with listening to someone, reflecting on how I can do their story justice and lastly, incorporate visual techniques.

Jack Rodgers