Former student moves from reporting to college PR.

Elaine Marsilio Krift
Elaine Marsilio Krift started in the journalism program at San Antonio College the spring semester after Sept. 11, 2001. "I remember seeing The Ranger's coverage of that day and being even more reinforced about pursuing a journalism degree."

Plus, she said she remembered walking by the journalism building and being in awe. As if to say, "One day I will be part of that program, and it's going to be great!" 

"I went to Mr. Chet Hunt's office one day in between classes. (I was so nervous!) I wanted to be in the journalism program, but I didn't know how to make the first step."

She had spent her senior year of high school talking the new journalism teacher into letting her attend Journalism 101 class that year even though it was a freshmen class. "I knew my dream a little late in high school, but at least I had a dream. I knew my vision, and I wasn't going to let up. So, I went and talked to Mr. Hunt and said, 'I want to be in your program.' "

She said what happened after that was amazing. "Not only was I able to be part of the program. I became part of a family. A network. A team. A team that gave me the know-how, skills and encouragement to be the greatest journalist I could be." 

The foundation she received at San Antonio College, The Ranger and the journalism/photography program was top-notch and filled with priceless experiences, she said.  "I met people I wouldn't meet otherwise and learned things I would never have realized with my own eyes. A door opened for me, and I am truly thankful. I feel I am blessed to have had the inkling to want to pursue journalism and to want to take a then-uncertain, shaky step into the unknown."

She served as a reporter and wore many editor hats while at The Ranger and The Fourth Write. "There were late nights and weekends working on the newspaper and covering events or supporting programs, such as the fantastic Urban Journalism Workshop. The best summer was when a group of high school student journalists dubbed me 'Soccer Mom' after I drove them a few times in the mini van I was assigned as part of that year's program."

Wanting to transfer to a four-year university, she said she learned from the best about the best program. "Tricia Buchhorn had been through the program at the University of Texas at Arlington and worked on the campus newspaper, The Shorthorn. I trusted her judgment and expertise. I knew she and Irene Abrego wouldn't steer me wrong."

At UT-Arlington, she covered the university administration. "I felt challenged, not just in the nature of the topics I covered but in the people, too. A lot of times as a student journalist you face challenges when trying to talk with administrators. Many of them may seem inaccessible at first or intimidating -- and some are. But I would tell myself they are human, too. They have an important job, and it was my job to help tell the story of what they did and why. And why should students and the college community care?"

Graduating in December 2006 after serving on an internship with The Working Press at the SPJ Convention in Las Vegas, she served as a spring semester intern at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire in Washington, DC. "That was the best choice I ever made," she said.

Krift praised her training and foundation from The Ranger. "Ms. Odom's rigorous AP style tests helped me as an intern in Washington, DC.  On one assignment, I was standing a few feet from President George W. Bush and covering a controversial topic of gay and lesbian families attending the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. No pressure! I asked questions of attendees without batting an eye and took photos with ease thanks to Tricia's awesome expertise. I was an intern then but I knew in my heart I already was a professional. I had the foundation to prove it. I knew then that I was ready to get out and change the world through journalism." 

She accepted a job before graduation and moved to Odessa, Texas, within the month after graduating from UT-Arlington. "I wanted to hit the ground running. I covered education for the newspaper and enjoyed it. West Texas was filled with friendly people and fun personalities. A reporter's dream. I was able to work on many projects in that role and earned awards for my coverage. One story was a double byline about how the local school board was basically imploding after a series of events from a sitting trustee moving out of her district so her son could play at the famed Permian High School and how other trustees were being scolded in the media by the majority of the board for talking to the media and how the board hired a new AD. That story, which I worked on with then-colleague Bro Krift, won a prized award. Through working so closely with Bro on various assignments during our time at the Odessa American, I like to think I also won his heart. We later married in Corpus Christi, where we live with our 3-year-old son, Brody. Bro currently is the managing editor at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times."

After about a year of education reporting, a position for online editor/reporter opened up at the Odessa American. "I jumped on it. I got to work with the newspaper's website, produce and edit video and still report/write content. I could sense this was a new wave in the evolution of journalism. I wanted an edge and an understanding of what was to come."

That initiative paid off when she accepted a reporting job at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times where she covered health for the newspaper and then a few months later also began covering police/breaking news. 

She was asked to tap more into video and editing skills and work on more multimedia projects.  And then in 2010, the editors asked reporters to create Twitter accounts and later professional Facebook accounts. It was that new wave again rolling in like a high tide. 

"I stepped up to the challenge and did well. At that time, I was back to the education beat and now I live-tweeted from board meetings. I snapped photos and posted them instantly. It's how people get their news now: Immediately. I began posting Instagram videos that were promos of the board meetings for that day. It was something other reporters were necessarily doing to engage more with their audience."

Then a new position was created with plans to move the digital team at the paper into the newsroom. The position would help manage content on the website and also help manage social media for the paper and assist reporters with multimedia projects.
"Too fun!" she said. "I served as the paper's digital managing editor from Jan 2014 to Sept 2015."

In September 2015, she started a new path in her communications career: Public Relations. "It's a chance for me to expand my skills while also building into existing skills in journalism, video and social media. I work at Del Mar College and serve as Social and Video Media Specialist/Staff Writer. I write news releases, help plan media events, manage and develop content for the multiple social media channels and produce and edit videos for the College."

She said it is a different pace than a newsroom but with similar deadline feels. "It's a great environment for me to experiment and try new things because I work with a supportive team that genuinely believes in me and my abilities. I think it is interesting that I work in higher education after covering higher ed while at The Ranger and The Shorthorn. It's an area I am comfortable in. I am comfortable learning here and growing here. It's familiar and yet unknown at the same time."

Just like when she walked into Mr. Hunt's office all those years ago.