Kala Kachmar, a 2009 graduate of the University of Connecticut graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science, along with a minor in history. She currently works as the city/county government reporter at the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama.
Some of her previous jobs include working as a staff writer at The Chronicle in Willimantic, as a reporter at The Journal Inquirer in Manchester, and as a copy-editor, page designer, reporter at the Norwich Bulletin.
Kachmar credits her curiosity about people and events going on around her for as her inspiration for majoring in journalism.
“I am a very people-oriented person, and I really love to understand what is going on the world. It is important for people to understand their surroundings, and their local government, their schools, and the things that they are paying their taxes for,” Kachmar said in a phone interview. “I think journalism is a craft that has changed so much because of the Internet, and the way people absorb things, and consume news…And I love writing.”
Kachmar said her time at UConn provided the resources she needed to find success in the journalism field. “The biggest thing I took away from UConn was the professors, and the relationships I had with the professors,” Kachmar said.
UConn Journalism Department Head Maureen Croteau and former Prof. Timothy Kenny were the two UConn Journalism professors that Kachmar remembered and appreciated most because they were “so easy to talk to, and reasonable, and knew stuff. I wanted to learn as much as I could from both of them,” Kachmar said. “They were so knowledgeable about everything.”
She said she took as many journalism classes as she could and worked all four years at The Daily Campus.
“Students need to do everything they can. If they are really passionate about journalism, they need to take every opportunity they can… and definitely get outside writing experience,” she said.
Kachmar said she uses the skills she learned in the UConn journalism program at her current job.
“I think one of the biggest things that’s been most relevant to my career, so far, is learning to incorporate multimedia and social media into journalism,” Kachmar said. “I also think I learned how to talk to people. I have always been outgoing, but I really learned how to have an interview that is effective, and now I feel like I can connect with all kinds of people on all different levels and that’s mostly because of my experience at UConn.”
Kachmar emphasized the importance of being a good reporter, as well as being able design a page. “If you know how to design pages, it will make you even more marketable.”
She added that students should embrace the use of social media as much as possible because it is having a huge impact in the journalism world today.
“Do whatever you can to make yourself marketable. Write for whatever paper you can write for, definitely write for The Daily Campus. Definitely do an internship and learn as much as you can from your professors, because they know so much.”
Follow Kala Kachmar on Twitter: @NewsQuip