Kari Plog ’11 has been in the ‘real world’ for half a decade, but her life experiences feel like they account for far more then five years worth of work. She’s gone to and reported on the Super Bowl and the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, and was a mainstay at the Tacoma News Tribune since her graduation from PLU. To cap it all off, in June 2015, Plog was named “New Journalist of the Year” by the Society of Professional Journalists of Western Washington. Now, Kari returns home to PLU as the Senior Editor for Content Development for Marketing and Communications where she uses her writing skills to lift up stories of her fellow Lutes.
What is the most exciting part of returning to PLU?
The most exciting part about returning is seeing how the campus has changed and, more importantly, how it hasn’t. The community is just as thoughtful and inclusive as it always was, and I’ve been surprised by the number of colleagues who remember my days here as a student journalist. It feels great to have made an impact in some way.
What was that decision process like?
Making the decision to leave newspapers was tough. But I wouldn’t have left for just any job. PLU is a place with a mission I believe in and my success is thanks to the skills I acquired while studying here as a student. I’m excited to be bringing those skills back to campus and apply them professionally as an employee.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since graduation and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is adjusting to the constantly changing industry. Journalism is fun, but turbulent. You have to think quick on your feet, something I learned to do with a lot of practice. Another challenge has been reminding myself to stay grounded. Learning is never done, no matter how much experience you gain. Some days it is easier than others to remember that you’re never done learning. But journalism inherently challenges you to think critically about what you’re doing and how to make it better. So, by being a successful journalist I think I’ve been able to conquer that challenge.
What is some of the best advice you could give to an undergrad pursuing a career in journalism?
The best advice I could give an aspiring journalist is to recognize you’re going to have to adapt — and don’t let that discourage you, embrace it as an exciting opportunity. Recognize that you might not get exactly the job you want right away, and that’s OK. You might find, as I did, that you’ve got talents and passions you never realized you had. For me, that was copy editing. By taking a copyediting job, one that wasn’t my first choice, I became a better writer. I’d do it all over again knowing what I know now.
How has PLU impacted you?
PLU has challenged me to always look outside of my own experiences. The university fostered my will to be a global citizen and embrace values of equity, justice and understanding. I’m looking forward to continue that educational growth in my new capacity as a staff member.