by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Why did you choose Loyola Marymount University to study media communications? Also, what has been your favorite course to date and why?
Erin: I was originally a screenwriting major, so I chose LMU because it’s rated the fourth best film school in the country and it’s located in Los Angeles, the biggest movie industry hub in the world. Writing has always kept me very creatively charged and it’s a skill I’ve grown to care for and nourish over the years, but screenwriting is an entirely different sort of writing – it’s more like a blueprint of dialogue.
So I switched to media & communications because I felt it served a broader scope of the entertainment industry, but also because screenwriting was taking something I loved – writing – and morphing into something I dreaded. I’ve really enjoyed my time at LMU – I’ve stayed on top of my studies, I have three jobs on campus, and I’ve been able to really immerse myself in the LA community. To date, my favorite class has been “Art of Media”, where we analyzed films and television shows through political, sexual and gender-specific scopes.
Gordon: What are your responsibilities as a copy editor at the Los Angeles Loyola Newspaper?
Erin: As a copy editor, I essentially have two jobs: check for grammar and check for style. I strive to find a balance between the two because while I don’t want to change the writer’s voice too much and make it my own, I still want their ideas to flow in the most logical way possible. I often just find myself re-phrasing sentences, fixing misspelled words and tweaking word choice, but my overall goal is to deliver articles that can be easily and enjoyable read.
Gordon: What were your responsibilities as a production assistant on the film Attachments?
Erin: As a production assistant, you essentially do anything and everything at all times. Some days I found myself picking up makeup and furniture around the city, other days I was on set assisting with script supervision and lighting design. It was nearly five years ago so I don’t have the clearest memory, but I remember it was a lot of running around – getting coffee, printing scripts, organizing craft services. It was incredibly fast-paced and I was always on my toes. I love being in an energetic space like that, so it helped me discern what kind of environment I might want in a future career.
Gordon: When you graduate, what profession do you hope to enter and why?
Erin: Perhaps it’s not best to be so candid in an interview, but I’m not sure what I’m headed towards yet. I’m interested in a lot of fields that are incredibly broad and varied from each other, so at this point in my life, I am trying to determine what I’m best at and what I want. I know that my profession will be more creatively charged because that’s where all of my interest lie. I hope to be doing something dynamic that never bores me and never stays the same.
Gordon: You are also a fashionista. What interests you in fashion?
Erin: Fashion is something I’ve since decided is more of a hobby than a career choice, but as an industry and an art form, I’ll not be blown away by it. The fashion industry is deceptively superficial but it’s actually such a gorgeous testament to modern art. Everything can be tied to fashion, especially runway fashion – culture, politics, sexuality, religion, self-expression. I think it’s fascinating how many clues you can pick up about someone’s personality based on the clothes they wear. I don’t think I could see myself in that field per se, but I have great respect for anybody who is. It is not easy.
Gordon: Please provide an overview of your work as a National Youth Correspondent at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.
Erin: The Washington Journalism and Media Conference was such an amazing experience. I was accepted as a teenage journalist to enroll in a summer program where we essentially spent our days learning about print journalism. We interviewed and hosted press conferences for various political figures around D.C., and we met some amazing people: Jamie Smith, White House Press Secretary for Obama, and Hota Kotb, co-host of The Today Show, for example. It was a non-stop journalism learning fest, and I came out of it understanding a lot more about the politics and media than I did before.
Gordon: Any thoughts on the politicization of news media and the concept of “fake news”?
Erin: Media has always been political, but in 2018, everything is skewed one way or the other. It feels like the most impossible thing in the world these days to find an unbiased media source. I’m not necessarily a politically-driven person, but if I ever want to watch the news or check up on what’s happening, it’s difficult to find a website that isn’t trying to shove their opinions down my throat.
And yes, while there is politicization in media, I think the disconnect also comes from what people are choosing to watch and read. People are angry in this political climate right now, and they want to get their news from a place that agrees with them, a place that supports everything they support. But if all right-leaning people head to Fox and all left-leaning people head to MSNBC, all that does is fuel them with even more reason to hate the other side. All that has created a really poisonous environment and it’s hard to discern what unbiased news even is anymore.
Gordon: How interested are students in the daily political news?
Erin: It’s strange. Students are often (not all the time, but often) painted as these vapid, self-obsessed young people that just dwindle away time on smartphones and social media, but most young people are actually really interested in what’s going on in our country. I do think students tend to focus more on social justice issues when it comes to politics, and I also think Donald Trump’s presidency has sparked more interest in the younger generations, but nevertheless, we are aren’t holding back from joining the conversation. I rarely meet students at LMU who don’t have some sort of strong political opinion about something, and most of them are always on top of what’s going on.
Gordon: Thank you for a great Interview!