Name: Loretta McGraw
Major: journalism and mass communication
Hometown: Altoona, Iowa
Loretta transferred from DMACC to Iowa State in Fall 2019 and quickly found her home in the Greenlee School. A first-generation student, McGraw has found helpful resources within clubs, from her adviser and within the Ames community. Read more about Loretta’s first year as a Cyclone and her club involvement with the Iowa State Daily, Greenlee School TV and Ethos magazine.
How did you decide that you wanted to major in journalism?
Journalism was my preferred career since I was very young. I got a phone in middle school and liked all of the news sites such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. I would check in on them and read the stories of the day. I was actually in eighth grade and I had turned in a paper in a journalistic style instead of MLA format. My teacher said, “I really like what you did with your paper, but it is not what I wanted.” She then told me that the next time I turned in an assignment that it needed to be in the right format, but she also told me to check out The Rampage, our student newspaper, once I got to high school.
During high school, I got involved with yearbook and The Rampage. We got to write about alternative things like teen pregnancy and other controversial topics. I am really grateful for the opportunities that my high school provided.
What do you cover at the Iowa State Daily?
I am involved with the Daily as a diversity reporter. It’s really fun, and I cover almost every single “Feminist Friday”, which is a weekly event hosted by the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity. They’re awesome and everyone should go check them out. You don’t need to identify as a feminist to go there and hang out. The group there is so nice, and you’ll learn so much.
What do you like about reporting for the Daily at the diversity desk?
I love the diversity desk! Honestly, I don’t see myself anywhere else, because it’s what I am interested in. I mostly cover women’s issues. It’s something that I am personally passionate about, so I enjoy being able to write about it and hear other people’s perspectives.
What is it like being an anchor for GSTV?
I have been an anchor on Newswatch for the past two semesters. My favorite part about anchoring is that I am getting to do it with my friends. I don’t know if I actually want to go into broadcasting, but I feel like I am better at it than I thought I was going to be! Being a part of the club is making me more well-rounded in journalism. That is really important, and they really stress here at Greenlee to get involved in anything and everything.
How has your experience been so far with Ethos magazine?
I want to get into magazine writing one day. I have always liked publications like National Geographic. The images they show, and the stories they tell are amazing. I aspire to write hard- hitting pieces and Ethos is less “trendy” and more alternative and outside of the box. You write about issues that you wouldn’t see in the Daily because they are different formats. There is definitely a distinction, so it is pretty interesting to be involved in both.
Ethos is giving me an opportunity to work on my photography along with my writing. There is one professional photographer on staff, so she’s going to help show me the ropes.
As a first-generation student, who has helped you with your college experience so far?
Both of my sisters started college, but unfortunately due to personal reasons, they didn’t finish. So they gave me a little bit of guidance which helped. They were really helpful in telling me who are the right people to talk to and just making me step outside of my comfort zone. I was really shy when I was growing up, and I struggled asking people for help because I was very independent. I still am independent, but I know what my limits are now and ask for help when needed.
How did you get involved in the Greenlee community, and what advice do you have for making connections?
With the Greenlee community, what really started it was just meeting people, joining those clubs and getting a lot of guidance from my adviser. When you hangout in the common space of Hamilton Hall, you’ll meet some really interesting people. You’ll hear what they are saying and think it’s interesting. If you strike up a conversation on the black couch, next thing you know you’ll be adding other students on social media! My friends and the Greenlee community have helped me a lot. You don’t have to struggle here, because there is always someone willing to help you out if you ask.
Interview by Grace Ekema; edited for length and clarity