This Q&A by SMC student Lauren Ruhnke, a communication studies major, is one in a series of interviews with the School of Media and Communication’s top scholars. SMC Aspiring Scholars are students recognized for their scholastic achievement through university-wide or SMC admissions scholarships, majors of distinction or membership in Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association Honor Society, or Kappa Tau Alpha, a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.
Lora Strum is a freshman journalism and political science double major, and is presently pursuing a French minor. Hailing from Washington, D.C., she has an extensive background of civic involvement and philanthropic efforts within the local community. She is a Ron Brown Scholarship recipient, and is presently the chapter leader of the program’s Philadelphia branch. She was recently honored at the 2013 Emmy Awards, where she was presented with the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences Mike Wallace Scholarship.
LR: Why did you choose the School of Media and Communication?
LS: My mother was a journalism major, and I love the excitement of breaking a story, of being the one who knows the information first. I also strive to tell the story of those who can’t otherwise speak up, and get out what people like to ignore. This is why I am especially interested in broadcast journalism, I think it is a very personal way to connect with people, since they are getting the story by reading your words or looking at your face.
LR: What are you passionate about?
LS: In the field of journalism, I am passionate about the injustice of inequality, and I hope to shed light on the social interactions between races that are often ignored. It should not take a tragedy like the Treyvon Martin case to accentuate race conflict. I also believe that there is a need for more diverse female representation in the news media, people need to know you can be a woman and still do this job.
LR: Are you involved with any community, philanthropy or student-run organizations?
LS: In my hometown I was a volunteer for the Alexandria chapter of the Obama campaign, I worked closely with the local domestic violence shelter and I was a volunteer dance teacher in D.C. rec centers. I feel it is very important to expose children to the arts regardless of their economic status. At Temple, I am the Greek life beat reporter for The Temple News, the publicity chair for the Temple Association of Black Journalists, and I work various positions and anchor for Temple Update.
LR: If you could change one aspect of media today what would it be?
LS: I would change the way modern journalism is using social media. I don’t want to see a tweet on CNN; that’s not news. I hope to reevaluate and improve the “civilian journalism” filter.
LR: Tell me about one of your weekends this semester.
LS: I attended the News and Documentary Television Emmys at the Lincoln Center in New York City in order to receive a scholarship for a piece I worked on in high school. The title of my project is “Poverty 2.0,” and it was awarded the Dr. Cornell West multimedia award. It is a human-interest long form documentary journalism piece that exposes the impoverished area that is often overlooked within the rich town of Alexandria, Va.
LR: What do you consider to be your super power? What is your kryptonite?
LS: My super power would be to read minds—I finish peoples’ sentences because I’m impatient and I can’t wait for them to finish. My weakness would probably be my impatience—I never wait, which works in news, but sometimes works against me in other aspects of life.