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Felicia Gans (COM ’17)

If there were something Felicia Gans would sell her soul for, it would probably be journalism. Actually you could say she already has. A junior in COM studying journalism, Felicia took a break from academics this semester and spent her time doing a full time co-op program at The Boston Globe. 

Felicia spends Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. working for the City Desk in the Globe’s Metro section. The desk is staffed from 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., usually by students in a co-op program. There’s always a lot going on, which means someone must be present at the desk to cover any news that comes in (aside from a 6-hour time gap in the wee morning hours). 

At the Globe, there is no “average day” for Felicia. The only consistent thing she can count on to do is to answer the tip line at the desk. “No matter how deep into writing a story I am, if the phone rings I have to pick it up and listen to see if there’s a good news tip in the call,” Felicia explains. Working the tip line has also given her a change to hear what readers have to say about the Globe’s content. “At the City Desk, I’m not only speaking to the sources I need for my stories. I’m also speaking to the people who will ultimately be reading my stories.” 

Reporting is what Felicia was born to do—and she’ll report any kind of news there is from human profiles to sad, bloody breaking news to features to science research. Recently, Felicia wrote a longer piece about a man who got laid off from work and was barely making ends meet, then crashed his car and didn’t have the money to fix it until he won the lottery. Pieces like this are a nice break from fires, arrests, shootings and stabbings—the typical kinds of breaking news. There’s always a variety in the kinds of stories Felicia writes though. “This widespread coverage has given me a lot of experience. I’ve found I really like writing science stories which, is weird because it’s something I never thought I would be interested in.” 

Felicia isn’t free of doing the traditional administrative types of work at the Globe though. “I still have to replace office supplies and calculate space in the paper but I do really get to be a reporter. I’m not just there to be an intern, I’m here and I’m getting to see if journalism is actually what I want to do, and it’s worked out so well.” 

It wouldn’t come as a surprise to most to know journalism was what Felicia wanted to do. She’s always loved telling stories, specifically telling stories that haven’t yet been told, or told the way she’s thinking of them. “But that’s the classic cliché every journalist will say,” Felicia laughs. “What I really like about journalism is writing about things that challenge me. I’ve written four articles about astronomy now and before I wrote the articles I knew nothing about astronomy. It’s incredible how now I can explain it to a reader. Covering topics like this has made me a mini expert on some things but at the same time I know I’m never done learning.” She has a newfound interest in writing these science-based articles, but her favorite beat is politics, especially local politics. She enjoys seeing how local politicians communicate with their constituents because these are individuals who can actually know the people they’re impacting directly. This is most interesting to her though she’d be happy to cover any story. 

If you didn’t realize already, Felicia always wanted to be a journalist. Within her second week of college, Felicia joined The Daily Free Press and the rest is history. She started writing for city and campus news. The spring of her freshman year she was a city news associate and was responsible for producing two stories a day. “It was like journalism boot camp.” A semester later, in the fall of Felicia’s sophomore year Felicia became managing editor of the paper. It was a big jump for her, but Felicia had her whole team at the FreeP to support her. “I spent 50 hours a week in the office then. It was overwhelming but it shaped how I started to feel about journalism and the newspaper industry. I saw the product start to finish.” Fast forward to the spring of Felicia’s sophomore year, she was Editor In Chief of The Daily Free Press. “It was the most amazing experience I could ask for—the best way to describe it is like being the most important and least important person at the same time. As the Editor In Chief I was in charge of the paper but I also realized the paper could continue functioning without me because I was just overseeing everything. Without everyone else, the paper wouldn’t have come out each day. It’s a truly humbling part of this job.” 

Working as a journalist for The Daily Free Press gave Felicia a depth of experience in a variety of content areas. “I would work on a food story one week and a court hearing story the next. I interviewed Obama one week and Vince Vaughn the next. You can’t get that variety of content when you’re 19.”  

Though Felicia doesn’t spend 50-hour weeks at the office anymore, she’s still remained active. This past semester she was the editor of the business section, which means she is responsible for writing or editing content for the business section, which publishes each Thursday. She’s also on the Board of Directors for the FreeP as the alumni chair. 

Overall, Felicia’s time at The Daily Free Press has been irreplaceable. “The biggest thing about any college newspaper is that it forces you as a journalist out of your comfort zone. You’re thrown into this new world of writing and you have the opportunity to share it with your peers. It’s an invaluable experience and it has shaped me entirely.” 

When Felicia is not busy with journalism, she works for BU Admissions as an ambassador, explores Boston with her friends and watches TV. Before college, Felicia was hugely involved in theater and dance, but when she got to BU she needed to choose between journalism and the arts. She didn’t have time for the rehearsals so she dropped theater but she still sees shows and follows Broadway news. “I danced for 15 years and so losing that when I got to BU was weird. It actually still is weird. Sometimes I forget I’m not a dancer anymore because it still is a part of who I am. Just ask my roommates! They catch me dancing in my room all the time,” she says with a smile. Felicia also has this “new interest in TV.” Apparently, when spending 50 hours a week in the FreeP office you don’t have a lot of time to watch television. “It sounds so dorky but when you’re so busy you can’t breathe, it’s nice when you have time to watch TV.” 

In her other free time, Felicia loves reading and consuming the news, as any journalist would. She doesn’t just read the Globe because she works for them, she says she loves reading the Globe because of its regional reach but ability to cater to local audiences. She also reads The New York Times because “no good journalist doesn’t read it.” Felicia also receives and reads daily email newsletters from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. Her Twitter feed is chuck full of news sites that she also follows to get content.  She loves the Globe’s food section and a weekly Globe Magazine column called “Dinner with Cupid,” a short story about a blind date set up by the Globe. It’s one of my favorite things to see each week,” Felicia says.  

If you’re looking to find Felicia on campus, chances are she’s in the FreeP office (648 Beacon St. right next to Bruegger’s) or if you’re lucky enough, you might catch her contagious smile in passing on the street. 

 

An advertising student at Boston University, Allison Penn has been writing for HCBU since fall 2013. Her favorite beat is tips for internships and professionalism, but enjoys musing about pop culture too. She loves the weekly #Adweekchat, children's books, the colors olive and eggplant, Friends, magazines and dark chocolate. Secretly, she still wishes she could be a ballerina when she grows up. Follow on Twitter: @AllisonRebeccaP
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