WAFB – TV Morning Show Executive Producer is Manship Alumna

Manship School alumna Farrah Reed

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs offers an incredible opportunity for students to learn from practicing mass communication professionals at their four Lunch & Learn events each semester. Recently, Farrah Reed, the executive producer at WAFB TV and a Manship School graduate, stopped by to offer her insights on careers in broadcast and digital media.

Reed is a New Orleans native, who graduated from the Manship School in 2013 with a concentration in broadcast journalism. Growing up in New Orleans, the news was a large part of her life and she always knew that she wanted to be a part of it.

“I thought that I wanted to be involved with the reporting side of news but I liked producing better,” Reed said, “I love being behind the scenes, having an idea and getting to produce it and watch it come to life.”

Producing a newscast entails working closely with an entire newsroom team to gather information, assign reporters to various projects, handle breaking news, organize the flow of a show and all the information it will contain – from reporter stories to weather updates and traffic information to graphics to where the anchors will stand or sit during each part of the newscast.

Reed working at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, GA


Reed said the Manship School provided her with the tools that she needed to be successful in her career. When she first got to LSU, the Manship School felt personal to her, like a family. Reed shared that the Manship School cultivated her knowledge of communication and ethics. During her time at the Manship School, Reed was one of the producers for Tiger TV.

“I am thankful for Tiger TV because it resembles a real newsroom and allowed me to practice and build confidence while also providing a safety net for me to learn and make mistakes. When I graduated, I was prepared for the work force,” Reed said.

After graduating from the Manship School, Reed knew that she wanted to work in a top ten television market and made her way to San Antonio and Atlanta but missed the community feel of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This led her to come home to Louisiana and return to WAFB – TV.

A typically workday for Reed starts with her coming to work at 1 a.m. to prepare the morning show that begins airing at 4:30 a.m. Her team usually arrives at 11 pm to monitor current events that have happened in the community and around the world that night. Reed plays a supervisory role and reviews the material that airs on WAFB’s morning show.

“I love doing what I do, I feel fulfilled, it feels like I’m doing a service to my community,” Reed Said.

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

The Manship Grad that’s behind the phrase ‘If there are two things we’ll never run out of in Louisiana – it’s gumbo and gumption’

Manship School alumna Lauren Leist

Lauren Leist is a Mississippi native who received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Manship School. After graduating from the Manship School with her master’s degree in 2015, she became Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ speechwriter.

“My first speech for Gov. Edwards was his inaugural address. There was a line I wrote in the speech that said, “If there are two things we’ll never run out of in Louisiana – it’s gumbo and gumption’ and I believe the phrase still rings true today,” Leist said.

Leist is from Laurel, Mississippi and worked for her hometown newspaper while she was in high school. She chose LSU because the Manship School is one of the top journalism programs in the country and one of the few schools to offer a political communication concentration.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Leist decided to continue her education at the Manship School and pursue a master’s degree.

The most influential class that Leist took while at the Manship School was a political communication writing class with Professor Robert Mann. The class heavily focused on political speech writing and she was able to hone her craft.

The next summer, Leist took the opportunity to do a study abroad program with the Manship School, and Mann was one of the professors on that trip. Leist remembers sitting at a restaurant their first night in Istanbul and telling Mann that she might want to pursue speech writing professionally.

Lauren Leist (right) with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and wife Donna Edwards

“About a year later when John Bel Edwards won the governor’s election, Robert Mann recommended me to the transition team, I interviewed and ended up getting the job,” Leist said.

Leist is grateful for the opportunities that the Manship School has provided and the places that it has taken her.

“Don’t be afraid of going to your professor’s office hours because the better that they know you and your goals, the better they can help you and give you advice that just might land you your dream job,” Leist said.


Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

Team Tiger Drives Media Center for 2019 National Senior Games

When nearly 14,000 athletes 50 and over gathered in Albuquerque in June to compete in the 2019 National Senior Games, it became the largest qualified championship multisport event in recorded history. Media coverage went around the world, in no small part due to a 103-year-old Southern lady and LSU alum nicknamed “Hurricane Hawkins,” who set records on the track and enchanted everyone with her love of life in her media interviews. Julia Hawkins obtained her elementary education degree from the Ole War Skule in 1938, and met her future husband Murray who was a professor there at the time.

That’s impressive, but as it turns out, there’s more purple and gold to this story. A LOT more.

Tigers at National Senior Games
 80-year span of LSU alumni at 2019 National Senior Games: Mary Johns (2016), Jay Hall (2012), athlete Julia Hawkins (1938), Del Moon (1975) and Brit Huckabay (1884)

Del Moon, who was among the first graduating class of LSU broadcast journalism majors in 1975, has a long journalism and public relations background and has been the National Senior Games Association’s communications and media director since 2012. When the massive National Senior Games draws near every two years, Moon assembles a team to help manage media relations, social media, content generation, photography and video, public relations and more. Without intending to do so, four of his five key managers turned out to be LSU alumni. “I didn’t set out to go hire LSU folks,” Moon says. “They were simply the best for the job for that situation.”

The 2019 event’s photography manager, Brit Huckabay, graduated from LSU in 1984 – the year the journalism program became the Manship School – with a journalism and advertising degree and has become a successful pro photographer. He took the assignment because of his relationship with Julia Hawkins – his father was taught by Julia’s husband and he has been a longtime family friend.

“I live in Birmingham now and fell in love with the Nationals while taking photos of Julia and many of the other amazing athletes when it was there in 2017,” he explained. “It was so cool to go to Albuquerque and be a part of everything again.”

Another key staff member was Mary Johns, who earned her mass communications degree from the Manship School in 2016. Mary has been on the team twice before, first as an intern in 2015, then returning for a six month contract after graduating to plan the 2017 Games.

“She could not have done a better job,” Moon said. “Even though she has a great full time job in New Orleans now, I asked if she wanted to take a week off to come lose sleep and help run the office and handle social media. To my surprise, she said yes.”

Another LSU alumnus who worked in the Media Center was Jay Hall, the organization’s webmaster and IT consultant. Hall is a 2012 LSU graduate in kinesiology and sports management and has been serving NSGA since 2011.

“The event was very demanding, and everyone put in long hours. But we met every task and deadline and felt great pride that we helped put the event in front of tens of millions of people through media coverage,” Moon adds. “We had a very capable team of journalism students and an advisor from the University of New Mexico that generated content for our Games Daily News online platform, and I was very happy with their work. But it was personally extremely proud that I had a team of LSU Tigers driving the ball down the field.”

Winning Twins: How These Manship Grads Landed Their Dream Jobs

Manship School alums Erin and Erica Washington

Erin and Erica Washington are twin sisters that graduated from the Manship School in 2013. The Manship School provided them with lifelong skills and experiences that opened up opportunities which ultimately led them to their dream jobs.

The Washington twins are New Orleans natives who wanted to spread their wings after high school and leave Louisiana. That quickly changed after just one visit with a Manship School student ambassador.

“Seeing another black female who succeeded in the program was inspiring,” Erin said.

The Manship School offered them a support system that is still in place today.

“From our peers to professors, we still have a lot of great relationships,” Erica said.

Manship School professors such as Dr. Yongick Jeong, Dr. Jinx Broussard and Professor Roxanne Dill taught the twins to take “ownership and pride in their work,” they said.

“You never want to have your name attached to something mediocre,” Erin said.

Professors at the Manship School encouraged the twins to pursue internships so that they could narrow their passion and find the perfect job that was right for them. Throughout their years at the Manship School, the twins interned and volunteered for various organizations including KLSU-FM (the on-campus, student-run radio station), the LSU Football office of recruitment and video production for Kids Across America.

“If you’re a student and you’re not sure where your passion lies, you should intern and volunteer. Try different jobs to see what the day-to-day is like,” Erica suggested.

After graduating in 2013, Erin and Erica took public relations internships in New York. After their internships ended, Erica worked in public relations at the Music Choice Awards and Erin worked in marketing at The Apollo Theater. After four years, they both decided to head back to the south.

Erica left first to follow her dreams of working in Film Production at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Erin soon followed and achieved her dreams of working for the NFL. She is the Grassroots Marketing Manager for the Atlanta Falcons. Erica currently works at the Savannah College of Art & Design on the SCADFILM team.

“During your time at the Manship School, it is crucial that you make sure you are always building relationships with others, staying focused, practicing healthy self-care habits and being present by living in the moment,” Erin said. “You will know you’re in the right field when you work several hours, and it doesn’t feel like work.”

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

Manship School grad works for the largest health care public relations agency

Mary Klemenok, a 2017 alumna of the Manship School, is living proof that what you learn the Manship School can help you build your future career.

Manship School alumna Mary Klemenok

Klemenok is a Texas native who always dreamed of attending Louisiana State University. Her dream came true when she transferred to LSU after her freshman year from the University of Missouri.

“I was an athlete my whole life, so I knew how important it was to maintain a good image in the public eye and that is why I picked public relations as my major,” Klemenok said. 

Reflecting on her time at Manship, Klemenok feels that a lot of the classes that she took helped her prepare for success after graduation. She was fortunate enough to be part of one of the biggest campaign projects produced by Manship School students. Her capstone class, also known as a campaign class, was taught by Professional-in-Residence Sadie Wilks and allowed her group to partner with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. Klemenok’s press release was soon picked up by top tier outlets and she played a critical role in the campaign being seen by over 100 million people across the world. In addition to the press release, her team created other collateral to help LOPA carry out its objectives in raising awareness on eye, organ and tissue donation. The campaign was also a finalist in the 2018 PRWeek Choice Awards for Best Facebook Live Campaign. 

Mary Klemenok at the premiere of  “A Touch of Sugar”

 “A lot of the work done at the Manship School was hands-on, so rather than sitting in lectures I was able to write, to create things and to grow as a communicator,” Klemenok said.

Klemenok now works for the leading healthcare public relations agency. Her work revolves around Type 2 diabetes. Her firm recently released a documentary that tells the story of four patients with Type 2 diabetes. The documentary even allowed her to work with actress Viola Davis. 

The relationships that Klemenok built with her professors like Sadie Wilks, who she still keeps in contact with, continue to help her to this day. 

“Take advantage of internships and step out of your comfort zone. College is a place that you should explore areas that might interest you. You learn from doing,” Klemenok said. 

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams