UM journalism major is an ‘Outsider’ in Nashville with new writing job

Kora Kelly
Oxford Stories

Halle Ames, a 2020 University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media journalism student, is now an “Outsider” in Nashville as a staff writer for the lifestyle company that aims to be the “heartbeat of America, capturing the pulse of what matters most to our readers.”

Ames was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois and attended St. Teresa grade school and later Althoff Catholic High School. Some of her favorite childhood memories were trips with family that inspired her desire to travel and explore the world. 

Ames left the Midwest to come to Mississippi for college. She attended UM after visiting her sister at Western Kentucky University. She knew after visiting that WKU, it wasn’t the school for her, and she kept her options open. It wasn’t until she visited Ole Miss for an LSU football game that she knew where she wanted to go. 

When Halle came for orientation, she wanted to pursue a degree in biology. Instead, she declared broadcast journalism her sophomore year. She participated in NewsWatch Ole Miss and won awards.

During her four years at Ole Miss, she was successful in her studies and extracurriculars, and made the school feel like home to those around her and potential students. 

“Halle and I went to high school together,” said Emily Myatt, a longtime friend and fellow student at UM. “She was really helpful when it came to my decision to go to Ole Miss. She was more than willing to answer any questions I had.”

Following graduation from UM, Ames has gone on to pursue a career in journalism. Today, she writes for Outsider in Nashville.

Outsider has a “asana” which offers story ideas to choose from and allows writers to sign up for topics to write about. Most topics include country music, entertainment and outdoor activities.

“Our company just started when COVID started,” Ames said. The company had only 10 people at the time. It now has 50-60 employees and recently received a $3 million sponsor to start a podcast. Podcasting is something Ames says she’s interested in exploring professionally. 

Ames remembered the capstone class she took at the University of Mississippi with Michael Fagans, an assistant professor of journalism. During the capstone course, they completed a podcast.

Skills Ames applies to her current job that she took away from UM include writing stories, news releases and using WordPress. She also enjoys helping others.

“I want to give back somehow and use journalism and nonprofit work,” said Ames. “I want to document their day-to-day work and be a part of their promotion and marketing team.”

Ames is also interested in doing marketing and promotions for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.

Ames said it’s important to connect with people who are working for the company you’re applying for and follow up with them to show you are interested in working.  

“It’s so much more about who you know these days,” said Ames when talking about how to find a career after college. 

Networking is an important part of the job process. It’s also important not to get discouraged when going through the process of working different jobs and finding the right one for you. 

“Don’t get discouraged with your first job,” she said. “It’s probably not going to be glamorous, especially during this time. It’s a pandemic. Everyone is trying to get a job, so don’t get discouraged and stick with it as long as you can.”

When asked what life lesson or business lesson that she’s learned while working, Ames suggests saving your money. Don’t blow your paycheck, and establish a 401k. Growing up and being an adult becomes a part of the process when starting your career. 

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