Alumni Emma Kate Fittes (‘15) and Dakota Crawford (‘16) were both Telecommunications and Journalism students with a passion for storytelling. Fast forward to 2020, Fittes is an education reporter for Chalkbeat IN and Crawford works as a social strategist for IndyCar. We sat down with the couple to discuss how Ball State prepared them for the real world, and what happened after CCIM.
Writer: Caitlen Ramey, Department of Journalism Student • Interviewer: Chris Zurisk, Telecommunications Student • Video: Ball State UMS
What type of students were you at Ball State?
EKF: I would say that we were pretty engaged students. I was on the Daily News and Ball Bearings team during most of my time at Ball State. We were very interested in student media so that is where we really found our home on campus and grew our passion.
DC: I will say that she was a great student and I was okay. We were very dedicated to student media and there were times where we should have probably put more focus into classes. I was also on the Daily News team all four years and there were separate times where we served as Editor in Chief which was a pretty big deal for us. But we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for student media.
Did you have a favorite spot on campus?
DC: I would say that for me it was definitely the newsroom. We were here when the Daily News moved from the traditional newsroom into the Unified Media Lab which was really cool. But one of my favorite places to be was the press box at the football field. It really allowed me to get an inside perspective on sports media that I had never seen before.
EKF: I definitely spent more time in the UML than my own apartment. My roommates were always asking me where I was and what I was doing. I was a part of the design team for the DN for a while so there were times we’d be there until 2 or 3 in the morning finalizing the newspaper.
Were there any professors that made a significant impact on you?
EKF: I feel like there were so many professors that I could go to talk or get help. I definitely had different professors for different things which is why this question is so hard to answer. I will say our adviser at the time, John Strauss became someone that I really relied on. I remember introducing him to my parents like he was my Uncle or something because that was how close we were.
DC: There were times that I struggled in the classroom so one thing I like to look back on is the professors that wanted to help me and really reached out to me as more of a colleague than a student. I had professional and academic connections as well as personal connections that I made along the way. One professor that comes to mind is Ryan Sparrow who was one of the professors in charge of the BSU at the Games class that I participated in. I bonded with him during that experience and even now I can still reach out to him if I need advice. There have been times where he has taught me how to design over Facetime when I had questions. I just think it is really cool that he would take that time out of his day to basically give me a Design 101 class and I’m not even a current student.
What is your biggest piece of advice for current students?
EKF: I cannot stress how important it is to be involved and to do internships. Those experiences in extracurriculars like student media gets you the experience to do internships and internships gives you the experience and connections to get a job after you graduate. I did an internship and even a year later the company contacted me when a position opened up, so without that experience I wouldn’t have had that connection. Journalism is about showing people what you can do and involvement and experience is really the best way to do that.