Former HC President: Kristina Zagame

We’re all itching to get a great job after college, and after emailing with Kristina Zagame, a former broadcast major at USC and HC alumna, I’m a little bit closer to reaching that goal. Read on to hear more about how USC and HCSC helped Zagame attain her goals. 

Her Campus South Carolina: When you attended UofSC – what was your major and why did you pick it?

Kristina Zagame: I chose Broadcast Journalism. I always loved to write and tell stories. And, I certainly was never afraid of a being in front of a camera.  Even as a kid, I’d rather wake up and watch Good Morning America rather than cartoons (and I LOVE cartoons). Going into TV news was a logical choice. And, also a good fall back plan after becoming the next Hilary Duff didn’t work out. (Kidding….sort of).

HCSC: What is a memory you have of USC? 

KZ: Oh boy. I have so many. Honestly, I think the best memories involve waking up early on Saturday mornings in the fall, picking out a gameday outfit and getting ready to head to Willy B with my girls. Those were some of the best days, especially my sophomore year when the Gamecocks were playing really well.

HCSC: What was it like being a part of Her Campus? What position did you hold?

KZ: I helped to bring Her Campus at USC, which was actually really hard. My friend Natalie did the application process of starting a chapter at USC, and I saw her Facebook status looking to recruit people and immediately hopped in  We thought branding it as a “low commitment” organization would help us recruit, but then it was really hard to get our members to put in effort and our content definitely suffered. It was definitely a trial-and-error process for about the first year.

I started out as a writer and quickly became an editor. After the first year, Natalie’s schedule just really didn’t have time for it so I REALLY took the reins and became “Campus Correspondent”, which is basically HC lingo for President/Editor in Chief. Looking back, I wish I had dedicated more time and had done things differently. Starting a new organization is hard, but trying to do so much of it by myself during my junior year (hardest academic year) proved even more difficult. But seeing how much it has grown since I graduated is incredible!  I set a vision for where I wanted it to go and the girls in charge now have definitely brought it there. I’m a proud alum!

HCSC: How do you feel Her Campus bettered your college experience and life after college?

KZ: Her Campus helped me define my voice. I would describe myself as a confident self-conscious person.  To those who don’t immediately relate, “fake it to you make it” is my motto. I AM confident, but sometimes I worry too much about what people think or if what I’m doing is good enough if I’m “qualified” to be doing what I do. I feel like most people feel that way. Truth is, there are always going to be things you don’t trust yourself with. Even people who are living my goals have self-doubt. The best thing about being in charge of Her Campus is that I had the freedom to overcome a lot of that. There was no one to tell me I couldn’t write something or try something new. Some things worked and other things didn’t. But either way, I learned that it was okay and I had a whole new support system behind me.

HCSC: After college what did you decide to do?

KZ: I graduated in May and did not even apply for a job until July. It is one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have parents who welcome you home with open arms and encourage you to “relax” for a few months. But honestly, I needed it. College was hard. Carolina News was hard. Being in charge of Her Campus and balancing other clubs while trying to maintain a social life...it was hard! And, working in news is certainly hard. I wanted a break before I jumped right into it. I was reached out to by a few news stations starting in April, but either the job wasn’t right or it fell through for other reasons. Looking back, I’m really glad they did and I’m happy I took the time off to go back to Boston, spend time with my family and friends and relax. 10/10 would recommend to any recent grad. 

I accepted my first “big girl” job in August and picked up and moved to the small city of St. Joseph, Missouri in September. My official job title was Weekend Anchor/MMJ, but I did pretty much everything under the sun there and quickly worked my way up to producing and anchoring the morning show. I had just got promoted a second time to the executive producer and anchor of the six and ten p.m. newscasts before I decided to move again to another job offer.

HCSC: Where do you live/how did you make that decision?

KZ: I recently moved to Medford, Oregon, which is right on the Southern Oregon/Northern California border. It turns out slaving away working 50+ hour weeks in Missouri paid off! My work caught the attention of NBC5/Fox26 in Medford and they reached out to me and offered me a position I just couldn’t refuse. I’m currently the anchor/producer for the ten p.m. Fox newscasts, and I also report for the NBC shows.  Leaving my friends and new-found life in St. Joe was surprisingly hard, but I knew it was time to move on for the sake of my career.

HCSC: How has your career evolved since graduation? 

KZ: I feel like I may have already answered this, but I feel pretty lucky that I’m actually working in the field I was studying and am currently doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I will say I used to want this position a lot more because of the idea of the “glamorous lifestyle” of being a TV personality. I quickly found out it is FAR from glamorous. But, I also found that I love reporting a lot more than I did in college.

HCSC: If you could share one thing about your job with the readers of HCSC what would it be?

KZ: Like a lot of jobs, this is a career field where you will absolutely hate your job one day and love it more than anything the next. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with in this biz feels the same. But if you’re on the fence about whether or not to get into TV news, know that you REALLY have to love it on those good days, and it is not for the sensitive. People will constantly try to rip you down, tensions get very high in the newsroom and deadlines always creep up faster than you would hope. What you don’t see on TV is the mental breakdowns happening behind the scenes. But at the same time, I get to create art in a unique form every day. I am given a platform in which I can reach people, even if they don’t exactly know they need it. And, I get to tell people’s meaningful and powerful stories. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

HCSC: How has your career shaped you into the person you are today?

KZ: I’ve always been a little timider when it comes to approaching people. This career pushes me every day to put myself out there, find comfort in talking to strangers and really unleash my inner curiosity. It’s also helped me be more comfortable being on my own. This may sound weird, but I’ve really gotten to know myself and accept my flaws and push every day to make myself a better reporter, a better storyteller, and a better person.

HCSC: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences with Her Campus South Carolina? 

KZ: I got to go onto a tour bus to interview the electronic music duo GTA when they performed at the Music Farm! You probably know them for their song “Intoxicated” with Martin Solveig. I got to do the interview with my friend Sophia who was also a senior editor for Her Campus. They even invited us backstage to take photos of the show and we got invited to hang out with them on their bus afterward. It was REALLY cool! And, really it was just a bit of luck. A show promoter asked me if I could write an article and help get the word out about the concert, and I asked for a return favor. I didn’t think he’d be able to make it happen, but he did! So I learned another important lesson: don’t be afraid to ask!

As you can tell, HC was built from hard-working students just like yourselves. With a lot of motivation, Zagame excelled in and outside of the classroom. Now working in a career that she is passionate about, Zagame is a perfect example of how your dreams can be attained.