Alumni Spotlight: Christiana Johns (JOURN '11)

Christiana Johns, an alumna from the graduate Journalism program here in the College of Communication, has been making an end run to success in the field of sports media relations. After graduation, she found employment in New Orleans with the Sun Belt Conference. Alongside her work with Sun Belt, Johns has spent time working in the press boxes at both the BCS National Championship held at the Superdome and the Sugar Bowl.

For this Alumni Spotlight, Johns shares memories of her experience here at DePaul, while also offering students valuable advice for working in media relations.

How did you find your way toward the work you're doing in athletics media and press relations?

By chance. I came to Chicago to explore my options and to gain experience wherever possible, so when I had the opportunity to work with the United States Olympic Committee, I jumped on it. I was invited to Vancouver along with six other DePaul graduate students to work with the USOC during the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I loved all of the behind the scenes work to make sports events happen and promote them through the media. The experience led me to working in college athletics.

What professional insight did you gain from working on the Winter Olympic crew?

We worked with the USOC staff for three weeks helping write feature stories, acquiring quotes, editing copy and managing the online press box and breaking news feed on Twitter. Just being there and networking, seeing how these large sporting events work and what goes into them was a priceless experience.

You originally had a goal of working as a journalist. What led you from that to public relations?

More opportunities. I enjoy being a part of the event-planning process more (for example, planning conference championships).

One of the greater concerns for students on the verge of graduation is how to achieve to their professional goals. They're armed with the knowledge, practical experience and a diploma, but how does one use all these to a professional end in your experience?

Good grades and classes only take you so far. The more "real world" experience you have in communications, the better you're equipped to prepare for events, a crisis, etc. Graduate school is really what you make of it, and if you're willing to put in the work and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, you'll be better off when it comes time for not only finding a job, but doing it well. Taking advantage of internships and making the sacrifices to get as much experience as you can will make you better off in the long run. I can't stress enough how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity you can.