BOONE, N.C. — For Appalachian State University alumnus John Park ’20, each day starts with one simple question: What’s happening in the world today? As a news producer at Spectrum News 1 in Louisville, Kentucky, he uses the skills he learned at App State to turn the answers to that question into news programs.
“The news and stories that we tell focus on important news for all areas of the state. I can’t think of a better way to give back to this community that has welcomed me with open arms than to make sure they’re informed of what’s happening in our world,” said Park, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communication, electronic media/broadcasting (EMB) from App State.
Each day, Park said he scours news from The Associated Press and social media to find stories of interest to the show’s audience. He also works with reporters in the field to ensure their content suits the content of the show.
His work includes writing scripts for the show’s news anchors and curating video, audio and graphics.
“It is a really rewarding process,” Park said. “You start with nothing and by the time your shift is over, you’ve created 60 minutes of television.”
Finding his passion
Park did not always know he wanted to work in broadcasting. He said he began taking classes in the Department of Communication after hearing about the EMB major and quickly found the courses “challenged me and forced me to think in new ways about the world.”
“My professors and faculty came from a variety of backgrounds, which brought different experiences and knowledge to the classroom,” Park said. “Hearing about their careers and what they learned was helpful to me in finding out what I wanted to do with my life.”
Anne Ward, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, said she was not surprised that Park — who graduated in spring 2020 in the midst of a tumultuous job market due to the COVID-19 global pandemic — found a job almost immediately.
“He is an example of the kind of hard-working and intellectually curious student that App State attracts,” Ward said. “The Department of Communication provides an outstanding learning lab for students and John made the most of every opportunity.”
Park said he credits his professional success to the department’s “new equipment, knowledgeable professors and abundance of resources,” as well as its focus on hands-on learning through the university’s student media outlets — The Appalachian newspaper, AppTV and 90.5 WASU-FM radio station. Park worked on several AppTV programs, including “The Appalachian Weekly News” and “Hi, Neighbor!”
“I got to use the lessons that I learned in the classroom in the real world to create content that aired in several North Carolina and Tennessee counties,” Park said.
He said the advisers and faculty for The Appalachian and AppTV “push you to do better because they know every student is capable of producing great content.”
Park also put his studies to use as a member of the Marching Mountaineers, App State’s marching band. A trumpet player, he also served as the band’s media director — creating website and social media content and overseeing video and photography projects.
“There are so many outlets you can use to apply your skills at Appalachian,” Park said, adding that the university’s physical location in Boone also has much to offer.
Park, a native of Charlotte, said, “The scenery is hard to beat. Once I got up the mountain, I knew I was going to have a hard time leaving it.”
A Mountaineer legacy
As a legacy student, Park’s journey to App State was guided by the generations of Mountaineers in his family — including his grandparents, parents and uncle. His sister, Jackie Park, also chose to attend App State. She is a senior communication, journalism major who currently serves as The Appalachian's editor-in-chief.
“I really think there was one place for me to be and I’m so glad Appalachian was that place,” Park said.
His grandfather, Jack Park, was a manager for the Mountaineers football team in the 1950s. In 1995, the Jack and Juanita Park Endowment for Athletics was established at App State for Park’s grandparents and it annually supports a student manager for the football program.
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About the Department of Communication
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University focuses on preparing students to succeed in the varied fields within the communication industry. The department offers five majors – advertising, communication studies, electronic media/broadcasting, journalism and public relations – and a minor in communication studies. Graduates work in a wide range of positions in media, corporate, agency, government and nonprofit organizations. Learn more at https://communication.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.