Elizabeth Donatelli graduated from The Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) in 2002. When asked about her experience at IPJ, she said “nothing is more exciting than to be 20 years old and living and working for a major news program in the most powerful city in the country!”
Now a reporter for “Good Morning Charlottesville,” Donatelli remembers her days at TFAS with fondness, and she credits much of her success to her summer in Washington.
“I learned how to find contacts and book guests. It was a preview of how I develop sources in my career today,” she said. “I researched stories and learned just how accurate you have to be.”
However, Donatelli didn’t always know she would end up working as a journalist. In fact, she didn’t take her first journalism class at the University of Southern California until the spring before she attended the TFAS program.
“It was actually supposed to serve as a ‘weeding out’ class, but instead of turning me off, it inspired me. At the time I arrived in Washington, I had a desire to learn but didn’t know much about the business,” she said.
Donatelli believes that while journalism schools teach students the tools necessary to “get the job done,” they often don’t give an education that will allow the students to go the extra mile. “By requiring students to take an economics course, TFAS is giving its students an edge,” she said.
“I would never have taken an economics class if it hadn’t been for TFAS,” she said. “It was hard, but I learned a lot about how the economy works. Fast forward four years, and the class benefits my viewers because I can give them a better and more accurate story.”