Alumni Issue: Jessica Kunz

Categories:  News    Edinboro Alumni Issue 2018
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 9:45 AM
Alumni Issue: Jessica Kunz by Anisa Venner-Johnston

In today’s day and age, with the journalism profession under a microscope, you’d think more journalists would hate their jobs. However, Edinboro alumna Jessica Kunz found that despite the daily struggles, she’s found her passion, and with a little help from her local area, it was all possible.  

The Erie native knew she wanted to work in broadcast news from a very early age. Her uncle had worked with the local news station, so you could say that she was raised in the newsroom. In her third grade class, Kunz would even take part in acting out fake TV news scripts. She always wanted to be first to share the news with everyone. 

 “I was naturally curious growing up,” Kunz said. “I always wanted to be the first to share what was going on with everyone. You could even call me nosy.” 

After graduating from Erie’s Collegiate Academy in 2010, Kunz went on to attend Edinboro University. Not only was Edinboro close to her home, along with a school several of her family members attended, but the journalism program caught her attention, finalizing her decision to attend. “I saw it had a strong journalism program and I was able to jump in.”  

While at Edinboro, she co-hosted her own radio show, “Ally Kat and Jazzy J” (Kunz of course being the latter). And under the guidance of Dr. Jim Wertz, now associate dean of the college of arts, humanities, and social sciences, Kunz had the ability to get newsroom-like experience before she graduated. “I had a really good mentor,” she explained. “He ran the TV station. His guidance allowed me to have so much experience under my belt.”  

Besides working with the radio and TV stations on campus, she was also able to intern with JET 24 Erie and with WPVI in Philadelphia. Both internships allowed her even more hands-on experience.  

In 2014, Kunz graduated from Edinboro, summa cum laude. She left ‘Boro with a bachelor’s in journalism and communications. And after a stop in Erie, she would make her way to Illinois, currently the statehouse reporter at WCIA.  

While Kunz’s time at the ‘Boro is over, she still holds the campus near and dear to her heart. “Well, I really love homecoming in and of itself,” she said. “I also really loved the bagpipes. I love telling people I went to a school that had bagpipes.” 

When asked about the troubles facing the current journalism industry, she was quick to keep things in perspective. “It’s easy to lose track when you deal with hardships [in journalism], when people are attacking you for your profession,” she explained. “But if you always keep a reminder as to why you are passionate about this — remember a story you did a few months ago — [you can] get through the bad days...and not every day is a bad day.” 

And to future journalists, she passed along the following knowledge. “Do it as long as you love it. Make sure you’re always loving it, and remember you don’t have to be a journalist forever.”   

With a role model like Kunz, EUP journalism students can remind themselves that even with their future profession under attack, an informed community is a better community, and that as long as they love it, they should do it. And don’t forget, you’re never too far to listen to and love those bagpipes.  

 Anisa Venner-Johnston can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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