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News and Events

Sophomore gets first professional byline in journalism class

Photo of Adam Hartzer in a field
January 14, 2021
Linda Blaser

Adam Hartzer ’23 took full advantage of his hands-on Intro to Journalism class to pitch his story idea on smartphone use at Disney theme parks to an industry editor and scored his first byline in a professional magazine.

The article, “Disney Sees Smartphones as Key to Better Guest Experience Both During, After COVID,” appeared in Hospitality Technology, a trade journal for the hotel and restaurant industry, on December 17, 2020.

Hartzer said he had “no expectation” at the beginning of the semester that he would end the class with a published piece, but is grateful for the opportunity to work with his instructor, Megy Karydes, to develop the article and media pitch.

At the beginning of the semester, Hartzer reached out to a travel agent who blogs on Instagram and TikTok to learn what changes she noticed in response to COVID. Through conversation, Hartzer realized a new reliance on smartphone technology for guests to register, reserve times, and order food might make a pitchable story.  

The assignment required students to identify an editor to pitch to and locate their contact information. Hartzer took that one step further and actually sent the pitch to an editor who was interested. 

“Throughout the rest of the course, we continued to work on his story before he filed it with the editor just before our semester ended,” Karydes said.

Hartzer was delighted with the results. “I didn’t even expect to get a response from the editor,” he said. Looking ahead to spring semester, “I can see myself doing that again in Advanced Journalism. I definitely enjoyed the whole process.” 

The hands-on experience is helping Hartzer define his career path.

“I’m still undecided, but I enjoy journalism and have an interest in the hospitality industry—so maybe a hybrid between the two,” he said.

Hartzer is double majoring in business marketing and creative media design, a self-designed major.