Meet Imani Butts ’23, a rising senior majoring in Journalism and Media. In this blog, Imani shares her passion for news journalism, how she’s grown over the years, and the absolute love she has for Ball State University.

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Can you describe your journey prior to Ball State University?

I really was stuck between Ball State and another college. However, I found out the wait time at other schools was much longer than Ball State’s. That realization, as well as becoming a Whitinger Scholar in the Honors College, made me choose Ball State.

What made you decide on your major at Ball State?

I took my Radio and Television class’s at my high school four times because I loved recording and editing. There wasn’t much “journalism” involved in the class but there were a lot of aspects of it that applied to journalism. My teachers helped me narrow down specifically what I wanted to do. After discussing it, I decided I wanted my major to be in journalism and media.

What has been your favorite class or career opportunity during your time at Ball State?

I think my favorite career opportunity at Ball State was the News Conference this past October. There were many Indiana News Directors who took the time to come to Ball State and discuss what it’s like working for them in a multitude of positions. I had the chance to speak with three news directors one-on-one and it was a great experience because it gave me the opportunity to show my work to people who are in the career field, airing stories like the ones I create here at Ball State. It really solidified that I wanted to be in the news media industry.

How have your experiences at Ball State shaped your personal growth?

Ball State gave me a reality check on how I should start my career when I leave Ball State. I think college is this safe social bubble with our professors checking our work, easy access to food, and living close to our friends, but my college experience has consistently challenged me to think outside the box, forced me to become independent in my decisions, and stand in them. I’ve gained the confidence to defend my creative decisions while also humbly taking the feedback I need to become a better journalist. Imani four years ago wouldn’t have been able to do that.

Imani Butts with Trey Moses

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

My proudest moment is my interview with NCAA Inspirational award winner Trey Moses. It was a very high-profile interview that I worked very hard on, and I was so proud when it aired. Looking back on it now, there are some things I would improve. Yet, I’m still proud of the fact that I didn’t let my self-sabotaging mindset get in the way of getting that interview as a freshman!

Share one thing that people don’t typically know about you.

Because I am so involved in NewsLink Indiana and I’ve been reporting for about three years now, people assume I am a composed person. A lot of students often tell me they look up to me. In reality, I’m just trying to figure it out like everyone else. I’m still confused about some aspects of journalism and I ask for help a lot because I’m still learning. I don’t have it all together and I want people to know that some of the “best students” really are just as lost as everyone else.

What are your plans after college?

I haven’t fully solidified my plans after college. I have narrowed it down to working as a news reporter in the midwest or producing long-form news such as mini-documentaries covering different topics across America.

Who are your mentors?

Lisa Renze-Rhodes, Director of the Unified Media Lab, has been an angel ever since I arrived at Ball State. She is someone I admire very much and is the first person I run to when I’m in journalism trouble. I would also say Jason Powell, an associate professor of the Honors College. His classes have really opened my eyes to how the world works and challenged my thinking and values to be more critical and empathetic.

Are you involved in any student organizations at Ball State?

I am in A LOT of student organizations and I often get asked when do I sleep? The answer is never. I am a reporter, anchor, and associate producer for NewsLink Indiana, member of the Ball State Speech Team, Vice-Chair of the Dean’s Collegiate Advisory Council, Secretary of the Beta Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Student Government Association Secretary of Diversity, and more. I learned about the CCIM organizations that I’m in at Super Party! Super Party (CCIM’s activity fair) exp
osed me to so many different clubs I wanted to join. The organizations outside of CCIM, I found through professors and other students that are involved in them.

What do you think is most important about Ball State?

There are people at Ball State to help you! As an extremely independent, self-sufficient only child, I’ve only ever trusted myself. I was never quick to ask for help because I didn’t think people would give me what I need to succeed. What I learned was everyone here at Ball State.

Interested in an experience like Imani’s? Check out The School of Journalism and Strategic Communication

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