W alum shares story, advice with Communication majors

Jessica McHenry


Beverly Kraft, W alumna and former editor of The Spectator, visited campus on March 23 to share her story with current communication students.

Kraft graduated from the W in 1981 with a double major in Communication and English and now serves as a public information officer for the State of Mississippi Judiciary in Jackson, Miss. raft’s presentation focused on the Mississippi legal system, how reporters should handle legal situations in the media and tips she has learned from her years since graduating The W.

“One of the things I encounter with media people is that they don’t know how courts work,” said Kraft. “They don’t know the structure of it.”

Kraft gave a hand-out to students to give them a better idea of how the systems worked and why it’s beneficial to understand the various courts and departments within a legal system.

"When you don’t know how the system works, it makes it hard to write about it or speak about it," said Kraft.

Kraft emphasized the importance of law school, earning a teaching degree and the journalism skill set.

She worked as a reporter in Jackson for several years before transitioning into her current role. She noted that moving from being a journalist to a public relations professional is quite common.

“I can’t for the life of me think of anybody else who started out in newswriting or broadcasting that stayed there,” said Kraft. “It’s kind of natural transition. The skill set you learn as a journalist has applicability to many other things.”

Kraft also stressed the benefits of joining professional organizations, signing up for sites like LinkedIn and having an internship. She noted the effects of social media on today’s communication and the changes in the communication or broadcast field since she graduated The W.

“The principle is still there. The basics are still there. The tools of the trade have changed so much, the manner of delivery has changed so much, that I do indeed feel like quite a dinosaur,” said Kraft, who admitted that her PowerPoint and Twitter knowledge was self-taught.