Ali Watkins, KLN '14, recently accepted a position at The New York Times' Washington Bureau. As a student, the native of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania was immediately attracted to the unique opportunities of Philadelphia and Temple's journalism program. She wrote for the Temple News all four years she attended Klein College, spending half that time as a crime reporter.
During an internship her junior year at McClatchy DC, a digital-first media publisher in Washington D.C., Watkins helped break a national story about the CIA spying on the Senate. The news agency offered her a full-time job shortly after her graduation. The following year she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work on the CIA spying story.
"The journalism community in D.C. is a very active segment of the population," Watkins said. There's so many people like you working in the same field as you."
Since her stint at McClatchy DC, she has gone on to work as a national security reporter for the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Politico.
"It's very valuable to recognize what you don't know and to surround yourself with people that will make you a better reporter," she said. "Find a workplace and if you can't find reporters that you want to be like in ten or 20 years, you shouldn't be there."
Today, Watkins is the national security reporter at The New York Times' Washington Bureau, focusing on law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
When asked how she became so successful so quickly Watkins said, "It's more of just showing up at the odd hours when no one else is showing up. Showing up all the time and eventually running into somebody who knows something."
She noted that Klein College has an important role to play in encouraging future journalists.
"It's an intimidating time to be a reporter. We are vilified, many don't trust us or consider us traitors," Watkins said. "It's so incredibly important right now for us to do it well and objectively. The more young and enthusiastic reporters come in with that perspective the better off we are all going to be."