Ohio Journalist

Passion Drive

By Rika Nurrahmah & Elizabeth Sheffield

. Photo by .

(June 11, 2011) — The E.W. Scripps School is filled with talent… and not just in journalism. Many students boast a wide array of interests ranging from sports to the arts, computers to hiking. These side passions often get cast aside in an effort to maintain a respectable GPA. However, for these four graduates, their passions ended up being one of the driving forces in their journalistic careers. Check out their biographies and see where their hobbies have taken them today.

Chelsea Toy (BSJ ’10)

PASSION: horses, horse barrel racing CURRENT POSITION: The HTC grad currently works for American Cowboy and Spin to Win Rodeo magazine as group managing editor. Her research-intensive position allows her to cover various scopes, including history, event coverage and news, and style and fashion.

HER LIFE IN EQUESTRIAN: Toy was a powerhouse student in high school, achieving good grades and getting involved in just about everything including the school’s newspaper and yearbook. Her main focus has always been horses. “I would leave school all the time for my horses, have them waiting outside in the parking lot,” Toy said.

COLLEGIATE JOURNALISM CAREER: This grad went to OU for the journalism program, but she was also interested in its heavy focus on politics and international affairs. “I wanted to go to Africa, The Middle East, and Asia and I got to do all those things in college,” Toy said. She was also a JSchool ambassador, a reporter for the Athens NEWS campus staff, staff member at InterActivist Magazine, and member of the Campus Progress National Advisory Board.

HOW SHE JUGGLED JOURNALISM & HER PASSION: “I’m really good with time management,” Toy admits. “I don’t have any secrets to it “ guess I don’t get overwhelmed easily.” Toy spent her whole college career juggling horses and school and was also heavily involved in being a reporter for the Athens News, writing 4 to 5 stories a week. She told OJ that she made sure to “separate 2 to 3 hours of my day to dedicate myself to just be with horses.” “It’s a matter of balance of what you care about,” Toy concludes.

Wilbert L. Cooper (BSJ ’10)

PASSION: music

CURRENT POSITION: Cooper served as editorial intern at Time Out: New York (TONY) and has since become a regular-basis, freelance to contributor to TONY. His beat is music lists and music themed packages, but a lot of his coverage involved live concert previews and reviews.

HIS LIFE IN MUSIC: While in college, Cooper got together a few of his friends to form The Red Army. Within the span of his four years the band transformed from an acoustic duo to a full electric band, released an album, and even performed as The Bad Brains for a cover show.

COLLEGIATE JOURNALISM CAREER: In 2008, Will was writer and marketing director for Backdrop magazine during its inception. Call him the ‘hype man’ of Backdrop. He later went on to serve as marketing director.

HOW HE JUGGLED JOURNALISM & HIS PASSION: When talking about degree prep, Cooper believes that the set-up of courses in both the journalism school and the university as a whole creates a flexibility that allows students to be “specialized in being specialized.” “Most places that you go to want you to do everything,” Cooper said. Incorporating his love for music into journalism happened naturally. “I know, as a musician, the terminology and I knew the musician way of talking about music. I think it was one of the reasons why I turned to that direction.”

Shamus Eaton (BSJ ’09)

PASSION: running

CURRENT POSITION: Eaton is currently a Nike run reporter at Nike.com. “When I read the job description, it was like they wrote it for me,” Eaton said of his job.

HIS LIFE IN RUNNING: Eaton couldn’t avoid running if he tried. Both of his parents were runners; his dad even competed in college. He first started running in 1st grade and ran his first 5k in 2nd grade. Eaton continued on to run track and cross country in middle school and high school. During his senior year at Lake, Eaton was recruited for OU’s cross country team. He ran cross country on scholarship all four years and ran track until it was cut during his sophomore year.

COLLEGIATE JOURNALISM CAREER: Eaton was going through the motions freshman and sophomore year. Junior year he came to a turning point and started looking for ways to become involved and be an active student. “I was lucky enough to fall into the group with Backdrop,” Eaton said. Eaton held the position of associate editor and senior editor while at Backdrop magazine.

HOW HE JUGGLED JOURNALISM & HIS PASSION: “On the most fundamental level, running gave me a passion to write about. In classes, people struggled to find content,” Eaton said. “The first thing [running] did was give me a subject, something I loved. I knew about the subject, so that really helped.” By the time Eaton had reached college, running had become so much part of his life that it hardly conflicted with academics. Instead, it provided him with what he had aspired to do throughout his adolescence: “They both came together to make the college experience what it was. I was a real student athlete.”

Jen Ator (BSJ ’08)

PASSION: sports

CURRENT POSITION: Ator is the fitness editor at Women’s Health. “As the fitness editor, there is never a shortage of workouts for me to try! Whether I’m testing a new class or meeting to work out with a new trainer, I’m fortunate that my job gives me the opportunity to stay active,” she said.

HER LIFE IN SPORTS: Sports have always been a part of Ator’s life. “There was never a season of the year where I wasn’t on a team or in a camp,” she said. During her middle school and high school years, Ator narrowed down her passions to field hockey and lacrosse. “…When it came time to think about college, I just couldn’t have imagined putting down my lacrosse stick,” Ator said. She continued to play for OU’s Women’s Lacrosse team until it was disbanded along with three men’s D1 sports in 2007.

COLLEGIATE JOURNALISM CAREER: Ator was initially a staff writer for Speakeasy before working through a series of positions at POISEfashion.com, a fashion webzine that was published from 2005 to 2007. While at POISE, Ator held a variety of positions, starting as a staff writer and ultimately becoming the senior editor/vice president. Ator completed two quarters of Southeast Ohio, her second as editor-in-chief.

HOW SHE JUGGLED JOURNALISM & HER PASSION: “From the very beginning, lacrosse helped me maintain a structure that most non-athletes didn’t have,” Ator said. Even after the end of her collegiate lacrosse career, Ator stayed dedicated to her team by writing a five-page feature on the team’s experience after disbandment for her feature writing class.

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