Jilisa Benton and JaKia Gilbert start journalism careers with Arkansas State University news station

Alcorn State University alumnae Jilisa Benton and JaKia Gilbert are putting their journalism skills to work with their new positions at Arkansas State University.

The two Alcornites, who are pursuing master’s degrees in media and public communication at the school, joined the ASU-TV News crew earlier this month. Benton will be the sports reporter on the noon show on Mondays and Wednesdays and Gilbert covers human-interest stories. ASU-TV News is the school’s daily newscast. ASU-TV is Arkansas State’s 24-hour cable station. The stations air original sports, news and talk shows.

Benton, a Jackson, Mississippi native, is enthused about the opportunities that come with her latest task. Gilbert, a Clarksdale, Mississippi native, enjoys learning new things about journalism and applying them to her stories.

“It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of the Arkansas State University news team,” said Benton. “This has been a learning experience for me as well as a great opportunity. Doing something that I love as a career will always be a blessing to me. Meeting new people is fun too.”

“It’s a new experience and I’m excited to learn all that they have to offer,” said Gilbert. “I’m being pushed to do things that I never thought I would be doing. The staff here reminds me of the staff at Alcorn, so I believe that I’ll be able to handle pretty much anything these guys throw at me.”

For as long as she can remember, Benton said that she has always been a talker. When she was younger, she would participate in oratorical contest at her church. She even made it to the national level and earned second place for her speaking. She credits her love for talking for choosing broadcast journalism as her field of choice.

“I really chose this field because this is something I love to do. I love to report and give valuable information to a community or just people in general. I always liked to speak, so I thought to myself that maybe speaking in the public was for me,” said Benton.

Fascination with the art of storytelling is what got Gilbert into journalism. She said that her love for editing news packages is what keeps her going.

“I chose broadcast journalism because I love every aspect of video production. I love the feeling of being able to tell a person’s story through video. The only thing I love more is actually editing everything. It’s like putting together a puzzle and getting to shape the pieces yourself.”

Benton said that she plans to work hard toward earning a master’s degree so that she can work for a local news station. Gilbert plans on becoming a video producer.

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