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Southeastern communication graduate Randi Rousseau broadcasts from the news anchor desk at WDSU-TV in New Orleans. Rousseau credits the experience she gained working at the Southeastern Channel and in internships for helping her opening doors to a career in broadcasting.
A media industry up-and-comer in her own right, Randi Rousseau was first attracted to Southeastern because of what she described as its “up-and-coming” television station the Southeastern Channel.
“In the field of journalism, experience is the key,” she said. “I chose Southeastern because I would be able to dive in and get practical experience right away both on camera and behind the news desk.”
In the few years since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2005, Rousseau has been moving up the career ladder at WDSU-TV, Channel 6 News in New Orleans. She began as an intern and landed a job as traffic reporter. She was then promoted to general assignment reporter, to co-anchor of the 4 p.m. newscast and is now co-anchor of “This Morning,” the station’s morning news program.
A native of Ponchatoula, Rousseau was a transfer student who attended one semester at LSU. When she arrived on campus in Hammond, she began working at the Southeastern Channel almost immediately. As anchor, reporter and editor, Rousseau said the training and experience she received allowed her to tweak her writing and on-air skills.
“The hands-on training at the Southeastern Channel really helped jumpstart my career and I credit Southeastern for helping me get where I am today,” she said. “The professors at Southeastern helped me develop a great writing style and taught me television law, AP style and how to present information in a clear and concise manner.”
Karen Fontenot, former head of the Department of Communication and now interim dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, remembers Rousseau fondly.
“Randi was one of the hardest working students I have ever known,” Fontenot said. “Randi took internships, worked hard, was very motivated. She did exactly what all students should do in order to succeed.”
With today’s competitive job market, Rousseau offered advice to current students and/or alumni seeking a job. She said internships are vital.
“I know it’s hard for college students to think about working for free, but think of it as working toward your career,” she said. “If your career interest is in media, apply for internships at local news stations, newspapers, or a radio station.”
Additionally she cautioned students to be smart with their finances.
“Most reporters don’t start off making those six-figure salaries that we all hope to make one day,” she quipped. “So, it’s good to save your money, if you can, and have a plan of attack for when you get out of college.”
Whether covering breaking news on the streets of New Orleans or providing in-depth coverage of the BP Oil Spill tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, Rousseau said she owes it all to what she learned in Hammond.
“I will always have a warm spot in my heart for Southeastern,” she said.