2019 Journalism Alumna is a Watchdog Reporter for Chambersburg Public Opinion, USA Today Network Alumni Profile
Meet Carley Bonk
- Job Title & Employer
- Watchdog Reporter, Chambersburg Public Opinion, USA Today Network
- April 2019
- College Activities
- The Globe
- Mary Beth Beggy Fischerkeller, Transfer Presidential
- Johnstown, Pa.
- High School
- Conemaugh Township Area High School
- Now Living In
- Waynesboro, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and traveling with my fiancé, Zach, and my black lab, Jazzy. I also savor drinking coffee and tea, cooking, reading novels and newspapers, practicing yoga, writing and listening to our extensive vinyl collection.
"Carley came to Public Opinion and the USA Today Network ready to jump right in and cover a wide variety of local, regional and even national stories. The education and experiences she had at Point Park prepared her well to become a journalist, especially in the challenging environment we face today."
"Make the most of the opportunities provided in college to get your work published. It is so essential to have a hefty portfolio when applying for that first real job. Talk to your professors and show them you are eager to get your stories out there to a real audience. They are there to help and are equally as eager to see you succeed when you take that extra step."
Tell us about the work you do for Chambersburg Public Opinion and how you got connected to this opportunity.
Eager to jump into a job right away, I applied to nearly 40 positions across the country and in various fields. Another alum, Neil Strebig, passed on the job opening at his sister newspaper to a few of my professors, who sent it my way. After two interviews, I was able to start immediately.
My day-to-day can vary greatly here, an aspect of my job I love and that keeps me on my toes. I could be out interviewing someone at their home one day and snapping a photo at a local event the next. My week could consist of reporting from the courthouse on a murder trial, discussing details in a meeting with other reporters and editors for a collaborative project, editing video or socializing content. Oh, and of course, writing a lot.
How did your undergraduate experience prepare you for this job?
I've noticed myself reflecting on the reporting I did for classes and The Globe a lot when working on stories at my job now. The skills I learned on how to not only feel comfortable interviewing someone, but how to make that person feel at ease have been super helpful out in the field. My writing style could only have been developed to what it is now through years of learning and trial and error as to what captures a reader's attention. I also am grateful for my professors and peers who encouraged my creativity in developing story ideas, as it has served me well in the position I'm in now.
What advice do you have for School of Communication students?
Don't give up on your passion because other people may not believe it's a viable option. Do what makes you happy, not what makes the most money. I was conflicted between taking a higher paying job and one that paid less but would enjoy more. If I didn't give journalism a chance at first, I was afraid I never would. If you're unhappy at work, that unfulfilled feeling can spill over into other parts of your life. You can always move to another field later on that might earn a higher salary, but taking the lower-paying job at first is a great way to do what you love and get your foot in the door for networking opportunities or possibly a promotion later on.
What are your career goals?
Looking forward, I'd love to continue to be able to make an impact with my words. I'd love to spend more time on investigative journalism, hone my podcasting skills and maybe see my byline in The New Yorker someday. I've also been pondering various possibilities for a fictional novel. Stay tuned.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Please, please, please make the most of the opportunities provided in college to get your work published. It is so essential to have a hefty portfolio when applying for that first real job. Talk to your professors and show them you are eager to get your stories out there to a real audience. They are there to help and are equally as eager to see you succeed when you take that extra step.