Emily Alff: The Alff-a One

Name: Emily Alff

Hometown: Houston, TX

Major: English and Film with a minor in Business and Economics (because having free time is BORING)

Dorm: Flaherty

If you could fly anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

Tokyo! When I studied abroad, but I was blessed to be able to travel throughout Western Europe, but I feel like Tokyo offers an experience radically different than anything I’ve ever had. Plus, ramen is one of my favorite foods, and it would be an honor to eat it in the country of its origin.

What is the best piece of advice you have given or received?

The advice that I carry with me is really more of a lifestyle. Growing up, my dad always encouraged me to work hard and engrained a really solid work ethic inside of me. As a result, I’ve always really prided myself on enjoying the process of getting things done. No matter what the result, there’s more glory in doing a good job than things going your way.

Additionally, I’d like to say that all my advice is the best advice you’ll ever hear, but if I had to sum it up, I’d tell you to be yourself. It can be really scary, and sometimes, people won’t like it. But if that’s the case, those probably aren’t people you want to be around anyways, right? If being yourself doesn’t get you where you thought it would, you’re probably not there yet. People seem to forget that they’re each so wonderfully complex on the inside. You have entire worlds of thoughts, opinions, memories, stories, and emotions inside yourself to explore. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

What are three words to describe yourself?

Three.

Words.

Aren’t.

Enough.

(but, if I’m not feeling artsy, I’d go with “ambitious,” “hard-working,” and “funny??”)

Tell us about your thesis.

Oh God, how much time do you have?

SO, I’m writing about ergodic literature and its application in news. Now, ergodic literature is a genre of literature that requires the manipulation of the medium of a text in a way that inflects the meaning. Some of my favorite examples include House of Leaves or Pale Fire, novels that are fully aware that they’re books and force the reader to directly interact with the pages in order to actually understand what’s going on. Bearing that relationship in mind, I’m arguing in my thesis that news is actually a subgenre of ergodic literature and that there’s a similar relationship between a viewer and a reporter. Basically, I’m saying that how you act affects how the news is reported and how the news reports affects how you act, but in a really complicated way.

How did you become so passionate about news?

Ironically, I couldn’t have cared less three years ago. In high school, I rarely paid attention to current events. It always seemed like everything was so much bigger than me and that being informed was never really worth it. There was always someone who would know more than me, so why bother in the first place? But, when I was a senior in high school, I began watching my local 11 p.m. newscast in anticipation of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon during the week. It began opening my eyes as to how weird and bizarre the city I lived in was. In all honesty, I saw the terrible crimes that had happened, but I also saw all the different ways the community would come together. Soon, it became a habit for me to specifically watch the 11 p.m. every Friday when LNJF wasn’t airing.

BUT, it was a habit I very quickly forgot once I got into college. Then, I had to do the whole “discover yourself” thing, and boy, what a journey. I went from an auditor to a social worker to a small business owner to a book editor to a writer. One particular day, I decided to be a director, and on that day, I also decided I should really apply for some summer internships. So I did! I ended up with two: one at my local film commission and one at a news station. Over that summer, I quickly realized I actually really disliked the film industry, but I absolutely loved being in the newsroom.

Since then, I’ve tried to reorient myself to focus on getting back. Right now, the news and broadcasting presents major challenges within the industry, from the conversations starting from the #MeToo movement to the growing presence of Sinclair Broadcast. However, with each problem, I get excited to be part of the solution. I’m really looking forward to utilizing my career to address these issues and be part of a better future. With any luck, I look forward to writing your next local news broadcast!

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Images: All images supplied by the profile subject.