Young Professional Series: Sarah Grieco


Since this blog often focuses on our lives as young professionals, we decided to interview some young professionals from other industries to share their stories and insights. One thing we want to highlight with this series is the role branding, and personal branding, play in a variety of professions. For our first interview, we reached out to our good friend, Sarah.

Name: Sarah Grieco

Profession: Journalist

Current Position: Web Editor at NBC San Diego

What is your favorite part about being a journalist? How did you know it was the right profession for you?

Grieco_0597My favorite part about being a journalist is providing people the evidence they need to make big decisions. I’ve always believed that if people are provided comprehensive information, they will hopefully take more action. When I leave work every day, I feel like I’ve accomplished something – whether it’s letting people know what new restaurant to try or how the mayor’s push to increase the police force will affect their neighborhood’s safety.

I knew journalism was the profession for me when I would rather write articles in the dark, dungeon-like basement of my student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, than go to the beach. Instead of enjoying California’s perfect weather, I spent the majority of my college years underground, cramped over computers while reading, writing and producing articles for the masses at SDSU. And that made me really, really happy. Still does!

As a journalist, how important is your personal brand?

Very. My personal brand played a huge role in obtaining my job at NBC and it will continue to help me as I move up in my career. Thanks to social media, having a “brand” is a more fluid, normal part of my day. People know I’m a journalist, but things like Twitter and Instagram let them know I have a life outside journalism. People want to work with someone who’s interesting and easy to get along with, and I think my brand translates that pretty well.

What do you do outside of work to promote yourself or your company?

Working for one of the best news outlets in the country makes it easy for me to share the successes of NBC – on social media and in person. I like to contribute in classroom discussions and journalism events, such as Society of Professional Journalists or Online News Association. Sometimes I’ll participate in Tweet chats, like the once MuckRack has once a week, to let other journalists know what kind of stories we’ve done recently.

Occasionally I’ll attend bigger San Diego events, like San Diego Magazine parties, that give me a chance to talk with some of the city’s brightest people. I can get ideas from them about what they care about, and also let them know where to go for the fastest, most accurate news in town.

What role does social media play in your career?

Social media is a huge part of my job – and it’s getting bigger. People’s stories can now be shared across the globe with the click of a button on Facebook or a simple retweet. It’s increasingly important to post articles on my work accounts, in addition to my personal account. Not only does it give me the chance to share crucial information on a platform people visit frequently, but also it allows me to see what people are talking about or how that information benefits them.

What do you wish all PR professionals knew before pitching you?

I wish more PR professionals would reach out to me on Twitter. I sometimes get up to 300 emails a day, and it’s easy for me to lose some pitches. If someone tweeted me a link with a short description, then I’d certainly pay more attention than with a lengthy email that might get deleted. Or, if you need to email me a pitch, make it short. Three sentences max. Then I’ll be able to see whether it’s worth my time without wasting theirs.

We’d like to thank Sarah for sharing such great information and we encourage you to read Sarah’s stories at NBC San Diego and learn more about her at SarahGrieco.com. Is there somebody particular you’d like to see us interview here? Please let us know!

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Writing a Thesis


Not all master’s programs require writing a thesis. In the Mass Communication and Media Studies program at San Diego State I was given a choice between writing a thesis and taking comprehensive exams. Most people choose comprehensive exams for various reasons, but a big part of it is that the commitment isn’t as long term. Yes, they are very intense and require studying for weeks, but a thesis is a more drawn-out process that can take a year or more of dedication. Despite this, I chose the thesis route. That choice is not for everyone, but based on my personal goals, made more sense. Here’s why:

  1. I had an area of research that I wanted to explore and become an “expert” in. For comprehensive exams you must have a solid understanding of a wide variety of topics. For a thesis, you choose one topic and dig deeper… and deeper…and deeper.
  2. I would like to pursue a Ph.D. at some point. Most doctoral programs want to see that a candidate has done their own research and has what it takes to see a project through from start to finish.
  3. Writing a thesis is part of the grad school experience that I wanted. I wanted to add to the body of knowledge in PR and have something that I could take with me forever.

Knowing I made the right decision about writing a thesis didn’t make the process easier. In fact, there were times where I was so overwhelmed I didn’t think I would ever get to where I am now (very close to done). It does NOT have to be that way though. If you’re writing a thesis, here are some tips that might help you out:

Faculty, students and alumni representing SDSU at the International Public Relations Research Conference where I presented my thesis as research in progress.

  1. Buy a book on thesis or dissertation writing and read it. Demystifying Dissertation Writing by Peg Single is a book my friend, Navy Cmdr. K.C. Marshall, bought for me and I should have read it cover to cover BEFORE starting my writing process. It is full of great tips about establishing a writing space, writing partner, routine and overcoming the many forms of writer’s block.
  2. Talk about your challenges! This is definitely discussed in Single’s book, but I still want to call this one out separately. Writing a thesis can feel isolating. It is by far the biggest project you have ever done and you are doing it by yourself. My thesis became a source of anxiety for me and it took me too long to speak up about it to my adviser. I eventually did and felt much better after venting. Maybe your adviser will be the best person to talk to or maybe you’d feel more comfortable with someone else. Talk to colleagues also writing a thesis or see a school therapist. Your university has resources to deal with stress, anxiety and depression. Use them!
  3. Think beyond “getting it done”. Of course you want to graduate, but if you look into conference and publication opportunities for your research, it will be far more rewarding.

Have any of you written a thesis? Any advice I’m missing?