Armed with a degree in journalism and a specialization in public relations, Ole Miss graduate Anna Gibbs is a reporter for The Oxford Eagle.
After graduating from Ole Miss, Gibbs worked as the social media manager for Barnes Crossing Auto Group in Tupelo. “I was basically a one-woman marketing department for 10 stores across the Southeast,” she said. “While that job was fun, I knew my true passion was writing.”
After seeing a job for The Oxford Eagle advertised on journalismjobs.com, Gibbs sent in her resume and called upon two former professors for letters of recommendation. One was Senior Lecturer Robin Street.
Street remembers Gibbs as “a very bright and organized young woman. She was a delight to have in class because she was always smiling, paying attention and participating in class discussions.”
Gibbs said she has gained valuable work experience. “There are several things you just can’t learn in a classroom, and that’s where real-world experience comes in,” she said. “It’s something you have to work for. Sitting in a classroom is one thing, but knowing when and how to apply what you’ve learned is a skill that comes through learning on the job.”
Gibbs said UM gave her needed technical training for her job. “I think the courses I took at Ole Miss were extremely beneficial,” she said. “I graduated knowing what was expected of a good journalist and knowing I could successfully meet those standards.”
Those standards allowed Gibbs to gain the knowledge needed to further her career in public relations and journalism.
“Unlike some students who spend their class time glued to their cell phone and laptop, [Gibbs] actually wanted to learn,” Street said. “I can still picture her in the classroom and still remember where she sat. I always knew I could look to her to be encouraged while I was teaching. Her work was also excellent.”
These skills helped Gibbs gain job experience and internships, which she believes are very important.
“For those looking to get into the journalism field, I’d recommend a few things,” she said. “Write every day. People underestimate the importance of being technically proficient in their work, and making a habit of writing can help develop that skill. The more you write, and the more you share your work with others, the better it becomes.”
Gibbs said the most important trait for a journalist is determination. Through her past work, internship, and school experiences, Gibbs has realized that, “As a journalist, you get told no a lot,” she said. “Editors, priests, elected officials – you name it. I’ve probably been rejected by them for one reason or another. However, I don’t let that break my spirit.”
Gibbs approaches each opportunity with the determination to spread news to her audience. As a journalist, she said you’re “acting as a mouthpiece for the people.”
Sharing her knowledge with the community, Gibbs’s work speaks for itself. Her articles range from opinions on the color blush, to reporting on Lafayette County High School students viewing “Hamilton” in St. Louis.
Writing every day helps Gibbs stay on track and organized. With her cat, Harry James Catter, by her side, she enjoys writing for work and for fun. A must-have item for Gibbs is her agenda.
“The more I delve into my role as a reporter, the more hectic my life becomes, so staying organized is key,” she said.
With news stories developing 24/7, Gibbs and the rest of The Oxford Eagle team must be ready to report at a moment’s notice.
Gibbs draws in readers with a relatable and dependable tone that provides entertainment and knowledge. She said lazy days are needed every now and then.
“I enjoy spending my off days reading a good book or adventuring around Oxford with my fiancé, Chris,” she said.
A balance between work and play helps create a perfect harmony for the busy writer. With the world in front of her, Gibbs seems to have a grasp on the important things in her life.
She has demonstrated her talent through numerous articles at The Oxford Eagle, and she will continue to write stories about the Oxford and Lafayette community.