News anchor stuns journalism students with her experiences
Start writing a post
Student Life

News anchor stuns journalism students with her experiences

WGAL's Janelle Stelson visits Millersville journalism class

News anchor stuns journalism students with her experiences
Photo courtesy of Janelle Stelson

Professional, playful, political are words that describe Janelle Stelson to a tee.

Stelson is known around the Lancaster area as the news anchor for WGAL Channel 8, an NBC affiliate of Central Pennsylvania. She co-anchors News 8 newscasts at 5:30, 10:00, and 11:00 each weeknight.

Stelson came to Millersville University on April 19. She was invited to speak to English and journalism professor Alan Foster's Advanced Reporting class.

Her visit to Millersville solidifies her commitment to the community she reports stories to.

She initially was not a journalism major.

She graduated for the University of Pugent Sound in in Tacoma, Washington. While at the “Harvard of the West,” she majored in government and political affairs.

Born in Fairbanks Alaska, where she was the oldest of four girls. Her father was an Alaskan State trooper.

She grew up in a political family.

Her grandparents were former White House workers and diplomats. Her grandfather was the first ambassador to Austria after World War II. Her grandmother was a secretary in the White House. the person who had to hold President Franklin D. Roosevelt whenever he gave a press conference.

“We have a fun history in politics,” Stelson said.

Stelson stated that her early twenty was the most uncertain time of her life. She advises the students to make intelligent decisions very step of the way. She wishes that she had someone tell her to not freak out when she was in college.

“You’ll be surprised with how what you will learn along the path will eventually make the universe shake out the way for you,” Stelson said. “It will lead you to the evolution to wat you’ll become.

Her evolution of political knowledge helped her land a job after college. She first wrote speeches for the economic minister of the Egyptian Embassy. Then she worked in the press bureau.

She recalled a story about miscommunication with the minister of information, which she described as a 300-pound man. Where, an Islamic slur came out of her mouth in a conversation with a butler.

As she knocked on a wooden computer desk, she stated that it was the only time she got fired from a job.

She advised the students to not be freaked out if things don’t go their way. She worked in the embassy of Egypt, which given her a higher salary, and prestige.

“If you work really hard, giving it your all and try to do a great job, chances are it will lead something else really great,” Stelson said.

Her political knowledge is an example of a passion she has. She noted to the students that whatever their passions may be, it always brings something to the table. When she was in college, she didn’t know that the politics and government passions would help her land a job in journalism.

“Look at the world these days,” Stelson noted. “It’s an important thing to know about why the Sunnis and the Shiites are and why everyone is banging away at each other.”

Her transition from civic service to journalism had Western multiculturalist influence. She went to a bar with higher-ups of the embassy. She was sitting nearby when she overheard anti-Semitist comments made from one of the Islamic Egyptians. She believes that employees should be aligned with the ideology of her coworkers and follow organization beliefs. That moment made her realize that she wanted to something else with her life.

Like many Americans now-a-days, Stelson made a career change. She decided to enter journalism without any knowledge of the inner workings of the media.

She did not know that as a news reporter, you had to submit a tape of news reporting. Nor did she know about media markets. She believes that the close proximity to the Philadelphia market for Lancaster is why Channel 8 is a good “feeder station.”

“If you’re bad as I was and didn’t study broadcasting, you want to get good fast,” Stelson advised.

After submitting letters and headshots, she was given two job offers from ABC27 in Harrisburg and Portland, Maine. She chose Harrisburg over Portland because of market size and close proximity to her boyfriend at the time who was attending the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia.

“The larger the market you start in, the better,” Stelson said. “Because, you are surrounded by more talent who are experienced. You get sucked up to their level faster.”

She then moved onto to the ABC affiliate in Miami, Florida, after her contract expired.

She then moved back to Harrisburg, where she works for WGAL Channel 8 today.

She did admit that she does not envy present day college students entering broadcast journalism. She feels that she entered the field during the “golden age.” She sees the industry being “fractured” and she is unsure how it is going to look in the future. With how information is now at everyone’s fingertips, people who aren’t trained as journalists can provide media coverage of any news story.

“The more people you have leading the free world who want to cut the right to access, the more you need journalists,” Stelson said.

Stelson sees this time being a tough time to enter the business. She told the students that they will be riding the next information wave.

“It’s been a really fun career so far,” Stelson said.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Panic! At The Disco Announces Breakup After 19 Years

Band Makes Breakup Announcement Official: 'Will Be No More'

panic at the disco

It's the end of an era. Originally formed in 2004 by friends in Las Vegas, Panic! At The Disco is no more.

Brendon Urie announced on Instagram that the band will be coming to an end after the upcoming Europe tour. He said that he and his wife are expecting a baby, and the life change weighed heavily in his mind to come to this decision. "Sometimes a journey must end for a new one to begin," he said.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Odyssey's response writer community is growing- read what our new writers have to say!


Each week, more response writers are joining the Odyssey community. We're excited to spotlight their voices on as they engage in constructive dialogue with our community. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

To Mom

There are days when you just need your mom

To Mom

There really is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of someone. Imagine that someone being the one who carried you for 9th months in their belly, taught you how to walk, fought with you about little things that only a mother and daughter relationship could understand. You can have a countless number of father figures in your life, but really as my mom always said, " you only get one mom."

Keep Reading... Show less

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

I need someone to show that they want me for me, not that they're using me to chase the idea of being in a relationship.

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

You hear your phone go off. He's asking you to hang out. Then, of course, you get the advice of your friends to decipher this text. Is it just hanging out or is it more than hanging out? You've probably done this at least once in your life or at least seen a tweet where someone posted their screenshots with a potential love interest.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Winter Break As Told By 'Friends'

Is a month at home too much to handle?


If you're anything like me, winter break is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel after a long, stressful semester. Working hard for 15 weeks can really take a toll on a person mentally, physically AND emotionally. It's a nice change of pace to be back at home with your family and friends, but after a couple weeks, it can get, well... boring.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments