Senior will ‘Shake it Off’ in broadcast journalism

Former Evergreener looks to report for ABC Fox Bozeman after graduation



Alex McCollum broadened his journalism horizons working at The Daily Evergreen and in his Advanced Television News class.

GREY KAMASZ, Evergreen reporter

An avid Swiftie and the life of the party, Alex McCollum has, as Taylor Swift sang, “been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night, and now [he] sees daylight.” 

McCollum, senior broadcast news major, is known for his passion for broadcast journalism and his personality. He is a writer with a presence in front of the camera and off-set. He said he enjoys writing and having a character; something journalism allows him to do.

“I get to write, interview and meet people,” McCollum said. “I also get to have a personality while I’m talking about it. … As a journalist, you connect with people, and I think people feel like you are talking to them.”

McCollum said he is graduating Summa Cum Laude, a degree earned with the highest distinction. He will begin working at a broadcast program at ABC Fox Bozeman.

McCollum said he decided on journalism at the end of his senior year of high school/sophomore year of community college. He chose to attend WSU because the broadcast program was renowned in the Pacific Northwest. Pullman was also further away from his home than Western Washington University or University Washington.

“I felt like those two things would be a good fit, and Pullman is about the size of the town I grew up in,” McCollum said. “I felt that would make it an easy transition for me.”

McCollum said when he first moved into a dorm in spring 2021, he was getting used to campus. In April, he created a tradition of sitting at Terrell Library to watch the sunset.

“I would sit on top of Terrell Library at the lookout, eat my dinner, listen to the ‘Folklore’ album by Taylor Swift and watch the sunset. It was very pleasant and one of my favorite things I used to do.”

After moving to Pullman, McCollum said he wanted to be involved with a campus organization where he could meet people and grow his skills, leading him to the Daily Evergreen. 

He started as a reporter for the news section and later applied for the deputy news editor position to assist in the newsroom without having the full responsibility of leading a section. He said the job gave him a different perspective on the newspaper process.

For his final semester at the Evergreen, McCollum was the multimedia editor. He said the position gave different opportunities he otherwise would not experience as a reporter or deputy editor. Some of these opportunities included running the Evergreen’s social media and newsletter.

Despite the challenges and demands of his positions, McCollum said he would describe all three jobs as very useful and helpful in developing his skills. He also views his time at the Evergreen as a learning opportunity.

“I got this different perspective on how the Evergreen produces news,” McCollum said. “I also got to grow my skills because I could see not necessarily mistakes but things others needed to work on or do, [which] I could apply to my writing.”

McCollum also honed his journalism skills through his classes. He said his favorite class was Advanced Television News with professor Matt Loveless. He said this class was where he started honing in on writing for television, producing shows and on-camera skills.

“It is such a close-knit class because there are about 14 of us, and then we get split into two,” McCollum said. “It is two groups of seven that you are with for like 10 hours every week in the same classroom working on stuff together. You develop these bonds like an actual job while you get to develop as a reporter.”

Loveless, an Edward R. Murrow College of Communication scholarly professor, said the most significant benefit of his class is the repetition, which he said is a good teacher.

“I see [McCollum] growing into that comfort of presenting on camera and being an assertive, confident, knowledgeable reporter that can have that presence of mind and trustworthiness in front of the camera,” Loveless said.

Loveless describes McCollum as a diehard Taylor Swift fan. In Loveless’ class, he said McCollum’s love for Taylor Swift’s music is integral to his personality. 

“… I think he would probably proclaim himself as a leading member of the Taylor Swift Fan Club. I learned a lot about [popular] music from him, and I like nudging at him when a new Taylor Swift album is coming out,” he said. “He is whatever you call a Taylor Swift fan and I know that carries his personality as well.”

Abby Davis, a reporter for KTVB and an Evergreen alum, hung out with McCollum and former Evergreen editor Emma Ledbetter in the newsroom while listening to music. Davis said that collection of memories was her favorite.

She also enjoyed going to WSU karaoke nights with McCollum. They sang “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” by Taylor Swift, which Davis said is a terrible song for karaoke, but she still had a blast singing with him.

“[It is] one of my favorite memories because we always have a lot of fun together, and we love Taylor Swift and dancing,” Davis said.

McCollum said he is most proud of his progress while studying at WSU. Leaving soon, he has advice for incoming students.

“Take the time to figure out what you want to do,” he said. “Do not feel pressured to pick a certain career. Once you decide, learn as much as you can and work on developing the skills you will need.”