Alumni Spotlight: Ali Holston
Full Name: Alison Holston
Preferred Name: Ali
Graduation Year: 2010
Degree/Major: BA, Broadcast Journalism
Current Employer: WKRG News 5
Current Title: Producer
Hometown: Hurley, Mississippi
Current Home: Mobile, Alabama
What do you do on a “typical day”? I produce the 10pm newscast, so my schedule is from 2 in the afternoon to 11 at night, Monday-Friday. I'm responsible for making sure the 10:00 show gets on the air and runs smoothly... That means I do a lot of story searching plus fact checking, a LOT of writing and a lot of communicating. When you have complete responsibility for all facets of on-air production it can be stressful. Luckily, I work with the best of the best. It is ALWAYS a team effort.
What led you to this job/career choice? I'm a pretty nosy person. This job allows me to stick my nose where it doesn't belong and (sometimes) get away with it. ;) But really- being able to build a newscast from scratch, and see it go from concept to broadcast, is a complete adrenaline rush. It's rewarding.
What are some of your career highlights/accomplishments/achievements? Our team just won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for "Best Newscast" from the Radio and Television Digital News Directors Association ( small market category for all of Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.) The award was based on our coverage of the Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph last year when it was pulled into Mobile Bay after several days adrift in the ocean without power. The award is a real testament of the awesome team of journalists we have at News 5, both behind the scenes and on-air.
What other jobs did you hold before your current position? Associate Producer at the Fox affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.
Why did you choose Southern Miss? Great journalism program. Also, I've always been a Golden Eagle at heart. To The Top!
What was your favorite/most useful class while at USM? My capstone, Hub City TV. I owe everything I know today to Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer. She will fight for you. Best professor and a true friend.
Anything you would change about your college experience? Not a single thing. My years at Southern Miss were a blessing.
What advice do you have for students going into your field? Do as many internships as possible. Work hard, and look out for yourself.
Who are your role models? My parents, my sister, my Heavenly Father, and of course, Dr. Sheffer.
Tell us about your family. Greatest, most supportive family to ever exist!! My dad owns a pharmacy in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, my mother runs it, and my sister is a nurse. We are quite the bunch.
Any memories of your time at USM you’d like to share? Funny memory and some advice: Order as much pizza from the Underground Pizza Guy as possible. Don't be alarmed when he asks you to meet him in a dark, Wal-Mart parking lot. It doesn't mean anything bad.. Just that you're out of his delivery range.. But if that doesn't look like a drug deal, I don't know what does.
Other thoughts/comments/advice high points in your life to include? For anyone reading this who's still in college- embrace your time at Southern Miss. Remember that mistakes can be learning experiences. PLEASE.. Just enjoy the ride, because before you know it, you'll be walking across the stage in your cap and gown.