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What Can You Do With a Journalism Major?

An Interview with Vi Nguyen (CMN '11)

​​​​​​​​​You're no doubt passionate about what you're studying, but have you ever felt the pressure of what comes next? Perhaps that pressure comes from creating a plan to ensure you achieve your professional goals. Maybe you're still wondering what career paths are open to you in order to pursue a job that truly excites you. Either way, the alumni of the College of Communication are here to help you! This series of alumni interviews will showcase various careers you might want to pursue after graduation.

Let these alumni experiences guide you in using your ambitions and DePaul education to achieve success in the working world. 

​The following is our interview with alumna Vi Nguyen: 

Vi Nguyen headshot.
Vi Nguyen

My name is Vi Nguyen, and I’m a proud graduate of DePaul University! I originally started off as a biology major and made the switch to journalism after taking a course in broadcast; and the rest is history. I’ve worked in several different markets before making my way back to Chicago and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to report and tell stories for a living. I live in Chicago with my fiancé and my dog, Diesel. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching reality shows and keeping up with the latest headlines.   

Who is your current employer, and what is your current position? 

I’m currently a News Reporter with NBC 5 Chicago. I’ve been at the station for about a year and a half now. Prior to joining the news team, I reported for the morning show over at CBS 2 Chicago on a per-diem basis.  

What was your journey to your current employment? 

My career started in a small market in Rockford, Illinois where I learned how to shoot, write and edit my own stories. I also learned how to produce and anchor a newscast and even run the assignment desk. It was there in Rockford where I learned how to do everything in the newsroom and really saw how a newsroom operated. From there I packed up my bags and moved on to bigger markets to continue my career, most recently in Indianapolis before landing back in Chicago.  

What does a typical day of work look like for you? 

There’s no typical day in news. You never know what’s going to happen or what news is going to break during the day. 

My day starts off with an editorial meeting with my managers and colleagues where we pitch stories and talk about what’s going on in different communities—what happened the night before, what’s happening the night of and what stories we should follow up on. Once I’m assigned a story, I head out the door with a photographer or work solo.   

​​​What is the most fulfilling part of your current position? 

The most fulfilling part about my job is getting a chance to meet so many different from all walks of life and using my platform to tell their stories. Often people are reaching out because they truly need our help to uncover the truth; whether it’s holding elected officials accountable by asking tough and uncomfortable questions or just be a listening ear so they can share their experience (happiness, joy, pain, or loss) with us. 

My job is to ask questions, listen, and share their stories and hope it can help make a difference in some way, shape, or form.    

What are the most valuable things you gained from your education with the College of Communication? How have they helped you get to where you are now? 

Some of the most valuable things I gained from my education with the College of Communication are collaborating and working with others, writing and thinking creatively and most importantly, don’t be afraid to be yourself and be confident.  

I think studying broadcast at DePaul really pulled me out of my shell. I was always shy and quiet in high school and could barely make it through public speaking, but I felt really comfortable at DePaul speaking in front of a class and I think it’s because I had very supportive teachers and classmates who made me feel at ease and myself.  

Is there a College of Communication instructor or professor who left an impact on you? If so, what did you learn from them? 

I think all my professors really had an impact on me. But if I had to choose, I would say Rick Brown. I still keep in touch with him to do this day. I think it's important in this business for reporters to have a thick skin and you really need to be able to handle constructive criticism and to never take things personally. Rick Brown keeps it real. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and he’s always providing honest feedback so that you can be a better reporter. Rick helped me with my very first resume reel and some of the tips he shared with me I still carry with me to this day.  

Is there a specific experience at DePaul as a whole that left a lasting impression on you? 

There are so many things I loved about DePaul. The university offered small class sizes, great opportunities to network and great extracurricular activities and programs. My freshman year I was very involved on campus with Residence Hall Council and years later I got involved with Radio DePaul ​and The DePaulia​. All programs and activities that helped me as I start my career as a reporter.  

What words of advice do you have for current students? 

My advice to current students is, don’t be afraid to be yourself or network, and don’t be afraid to enroll in a class that might be out of your comfort zone. I took a broadcast class as an elective and never imagined it would change the trajectory of my path.  

​You can connect with Vi​ on LinkedIn. 

Read More Alumni Profiles