As a part of the Department of History’s spring majors’ meeting on April 2, investigative journalist Bryn Stole ’11 spoke on his experiences in the field of journalism.
Eliza Ablovatski, associate professor of history and chair of the Department of History, introduced Stole to the audience of declared and prospective history majors and minors, a number of professors and other students interested in careers in journalism.
Following his time at Kenyon as a history and modern languages and literatures double major who focused on German and Russian, Stole entered the world of journalism through working for the Greenwood Commonwealth, a small newspaper in the Mississippi Delta region. Stole used his Kenyon connections and alumni outreach to get his foot in the door for this full-time job, and to get his freelance work published.
Two years later, Stole went on to work for Baton Rouge’s The Advocate, first as a night-shift crime reporter, then as a Washington D.C. correspondent. Covering national issues relevant to Lousianians, Stole maintained a community-driven approach to journalism and used his background in history to enhance his reporting.
Stole emphasized that learning how to approach new information is as valuable as having knowledge of the past. “Studying history is a set of skills that you develop in the profession that prepares you to do a lot of other things as well,” he said. He also advised any students interested in pursuing careers in journalism to keep in mind the types of reporting in which they are interested, the type of environment and information they wish to cover and the trajectory of the industry in the future.
“I would encourage you to think long and hard before going to a graduate program in journalism,” Stole said. Rather, he encourages students to investigate paid internships and reach out to any level of newspaper to volunteer freelance work wherever people will pay for it. Though he admitted that print journalism as an industry is currently in decline, he remains optimistic about the value of journalistic experience. “There’s lots of fallbacks you could probably land on if you end up leaving journalism.”
For the past few years, the Department of History has invited alumni to speak to the practical use of history majors in future careers. Past years’ meetings have featured speakers who have careers ranging from working with disaster relief in the Office of the Mayor of New York City, to serving as Kenyon’s current vice president for student affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92.
The Department of History uses this annual meeting to remind students that the skills gained studying history can apply to many fields. Hayley Beluch ’22, a history and English major, attended the presentation.
“I’m someone who has been interested in journalism, but I’ve never really considered how my love of history could translate into that field if I chose to go down that road,” Beluch said.
Ablovatski said that in bringing these speakers to campus, “the point is to really show how it’s not just that having a history major won’t stop you from doing something, but that there are real skills that you acquire in this major that help you in a variety of work environments.”