Ashley Kalena works as a Manager of YouTube Strategy for National Geographic. She graduated from Rowan University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. In 2008, she earned her Master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
She will participate in a Student Alumni Association event called Sips ‘N’ Tips on Wednesday, November 8 at 6 pm in the Student Center Pit at Rowan University.
Describe your job. What do you do on a daily basis?
I manage YouTube for National Geographic. Pretty much what that means is that I write and implement the strategy for all three U.S. based channels and then act upon that strategy. I also run the content development for YouTube, which means at any given time I am working with producers, editors, production companies, and talent to make video content that’s right for the platform.
Can you share some of your work that particularly proud of?
This is going to be very hard to narrow down! Earlier this year, I executive produced a live aftershow in LA discussing the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots, with live feeds from three locations. It was hosted by Soledad O’Brien, had 11 guests who all offered different points of view on the conversation:
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Neil deGrasse Tyson multiple times on video projects. I’ve produced at least 35 videos with him. I’ve even been in a few with him! Including this one, where I played the game Heads Up with him.
In June of this year, I hosted and co-hosted two lives from Napa Valley for Get Outdoors Day. I was also the Executive Producer on these shows as well. It was a really cool experience. I put volcanic ash on my face for all to see!
What is one thing you love about your current job?
I am very creative and very organized. My job calls for both these traits so I’m constantly being pushed to challenge myself in new ways.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your current job?
One of the biggest challenges I face is not being able to control resources or budget – this comes from above me. So, I always have to get creative with how to spend the money I do have and make use of the people around me in the best possible way, because they are great resources too.
Briefly explain how you arrived at this point in your career — from Rowan University to the present?
During my last year at Rowan, the broadcast specialization was added, and I quickly realized this was the area I wanted to pursue. I took as many classes as I could that year to prepare myself. Since Rowan didn’t offer a graduate program at the time for broadcast journalism, I applied elsewhere and got accepted to Syracuse University. I received my M.S. from the Newhouse School. From there, I got offered a job in Washington DC, at Travel Channel, where I worked for two years. I then took a position at National Geographic, where I’ve been for over seven years, in various roles.
What advice do you have for aspiring journalists studying at Rowan University?
There is not set path for journalists. Storytelling can exist in many forms and on many platforms. You have to be able to adapt with technology and trends, while still staying true to yourself, your integrity and your journalistic intuition – those skills will apply to whatever role you find yourself in.
By Lauren Kubiak
Mavish Khan spent her first few years at Rowan University exploring different career paths. She started as a biology major, but quickly realized it wasn’t for her. Next, she followed the influence of her father and switched to accounting.
Khan, a 21-year-old senior from Cherry Hill, will graduate in May with a major in journalism, a minor in political science, and a specialization in international studies. Khan said that the journalism courses have taught her to work across different media platforms, but also challenged her to take risks.
“This is a changing field and if anything, we should experiment with telling stories using technology we have never used,” she said.
She has also built an impressive resume of internships in production at SNJ Today, in communications at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and as a junior reporter for Fox 29. After graduating, Khan hopes to work for an online media company, behind the scenes on a TV set, or any job that will allow her to travel.
“In the end I want to be telling stories that really make people think and bring awareness to things going on in the world,” said Khan.
What’s something you love about your job?
I go somewhere different each day. The fact that I don’t punch in or sit in an office, and I get to work from home is a plus to my job. But I really enjoy that every day I will be interviewing someone new, seeing different scenery and I get to interact with players and coaches from different communities. The other part of my job that I love is I get to see high school talents that are committed to big time college programs. It’s great to watch them grow in terms of their athletic careers and people as they start a whole new chapter of their life.
What skill(s) have you learned at your job that you believe will help you or has helped you in the field you are in?
I’ve learned how to be a better video journalist — camera positioning, where to stand, head room, etc. But some of the most useful information is common sense and learning to not get overwhelmed such as if something doesn’t go your way. If you miss a shot or you don’t have a great standup, you have to keep going. Aim to do a great job every time, but if it’s not your day don’t be discouraged and hang your head.
What is your biggest challenge at your job?
The biggest challenge I have at my job is trying to educate people on our site and what we do. Jersey Sports Zone is a company that started out just filming high school sports in Monmouth and Ocean County as “Shore Sports Zone.” This year the company went state wide, and I was hired as one of their first employees.
How has Rowan’s journalism curriculum prepared you for this job?
I love Rowan. I owe my talent and everything I have received from this job to my many professors. The curriculum prepared me for real life scenarios and helps me at my job every day. You can’t teach experience, but everyone at Rowan makes sure you have a good understanding of what to do when those key situations arise.
Rowan University’s Spring 2018 registration starts:
• October 17 – Seniors (90 credits and above)
• October 23 – Juniors (58+ credits)
• October 30 – Sophomores, (24+ credits)
• November 6 – Freshmen, (0-23 credits)
Note: The Journalism Department now has dedicated academic advisors so that students get updated information about required courses and more access to appointment times.
If you have more than 45 credits, make an advising appointment with:
Victoria Hall – Room #602 (across street from 301 High)
If you have less than 45 credits, make an advising appointment with:
Esther J. Mummert
UAC-3rd Floor-Savitz Hall
Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, the Pulitzer Prize winning authors of Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love, will be guest speakers in George Anastasia’s Crime Reporting class on Monday, Oct. 2 at 4pm at 301 High Street West, Room 205. There are a dozen seats open to Rowan University students and employees.