Ohio Communications Director Jennifer Jarrell says WOUB helped build her confidence

Published: November 3, 2023 Author: Cheri Russo

In mid-September, Jennifer Jarrell started a new position as Communications Director with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. It’s not the kind of job she thought she would have when she came to Ohio University in 2001, but she says the hands-on experience she gained working at WOUB prepared her for every step of her career.

“Working at WOUB really pushed me, and I needed that,” said Jarrell.

Jarrell came to Athens from the Akron, Ohio area. She chose Ohio University because she knew she wanted to be a journalist and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism had a tremendous reputation.

“I visited Ohio University on a fall day, and that was it. That was all I needed to see. It was so beautiful. The rest was history,” said Jarrell. “And then when I heard more about the journalism program and how well people spoke of it, it definitely gave me the sense that at this school journalism was important.”

Jarrell applied to Ohio University but wasn’t accepted into the journalism program at first. She decided to go to Athens anyway and do the work needed to get into the journalism school.

“I knew if I wanted to get into the journalism school that I had to do really well academically and also had to be involved,” said Jarrell. “So, I signed up to learn about WOUB and got involved there right away. I started doing morning radio on the weekends. I knew that would show how much I really wanted to do this, because you had to be at the station at 5 a.m. on Saturday!”

The hard work paid off and Jarrell was accepted into the journalism program. After working on WOUB radio, Jarrell started reporting for WOUB TV’s nightly news program, NewsWatch. The summer between her sophomore and junior year, Jarrell decided to stay on campus and work for WOUB.

“Over the summer there were fewer students on campus and more opportunity at WOUB to learn and grow. That experience was extremely valuable and helped me to be ready to apply for TV news jobs when I graduated.”

Jarrell’s first job after graduation was as a reporter at WHIZ TV in Zanesville, Ohio.

“It was a good opportunity, and I felt more than equipped for the job because of my experience at WOUB,” said Jarrell.

After WHIZ, Jarrell worked in reporter positions in South Bend, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio, before accepting an information management director position for the Delaware County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office.

“It was a great job and I learned so much about how to inform the public about the activities of law enforcement,” said Jarrell. “But I missed TV news.”

So, Jarrell accepted a TV reporter position at WBNS TV in Columbus.

“I was the Delaware County Bureau reporter,” said Jarrell. “I reported out of the This Week News office in Lewis Center.”

But after getting married and having a child, Jarrell decided to explore her options in public relations and communications. She worked for Kroger for five years in government relations and communications roles before accepting a position with the state of Ohio in the Department of Commerce.

“I am very appreciative of the time I spent at WOUB in college. Even though I no longer work as a TV news reporter, there were so many important things I learned there,” said Jarrell. “For me, it was very intimidating at first to come into the WOUB newsroom. I really had to push myself to know I belonged there. I got to the point where I felt comfortable and knew that I was going to take this experience and do everything I could with it to prove myself.”

Jarrell also recalls how the WOUB professional staff pushed students to be the best they could be.

“Jason Koma was the WOUB News assignment editor at the time, and he was tough on me,” said Jarrell. “At the time I didn’t know I needed that. But in hindsight, I really appreciate that because it’s exactly how newsroom supervisors pushed me after I graduated. I learned that you can’t make excuses. You can’t say I wasn’t able to get an interview, or I can’t find this information. You have to come back to the newsroom with something for the story, and you can apply that to any job or any situation. That was tremendously valuable.”

About WOUB Public Media
As a member station of both NPR and PBS, WOUB Public Media is a trusted source of news, local content and educational resources that have proven to be worthy of the time, effort and support of our users. WOUB, an experiential-learning unit of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, is a non-profit, community-supported multimedia organization which provides online and broadcast services, along with non-broadcast educational services and student professional development. WOUB serves 55 counties throughout southeastern Ohio, western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky with its broadcast signals. WOUB Radio’s FM Network has transmitters in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Zanesville and Cambridge, while WOUB AM serves the immediate Athens area. WOUB TV is made up of seven television channels (WOUB HD, WOUB Classic, WOUB World, WOUB Create, WOUB Ohio, WOUB Kids and WOUB Voicecorps Reading Service) which are broadcast from two transmitters.

Through its support of public service, teaching, research and administrative missions, along with its high-quality local content and programming, WOUB enriches, enhances and expands the lives and horizons of the people in the communities it serves, as well as Ohio University faculty, staff and students.