Meet The Prospectus: Billi Jo Hart
A four-year veteran of The Prospectus, Production Supervisor Billi Jo Hart has worn many hats over the years.
“I’ve worked in all of the positions at the newspaper, including writer, photographer, webmaster, editor, and editor-in-chief,” she said. “It has been fun getting to see all angles of the newspaper.”
Like many incoming freshmen, Hart wasn’t certain exactly what she wanted to pursue when she began college.
“When I started Parkland I had no idea what I wanted to do. I started with getting all my general education classes out of the way to buy myself time while I figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” she said. “I ended up taking everything from composition, stats, and astronomy, to costume design and theater make-up.”
Landing a position with The Prospectus, however, felt like a natural progression to her.
“I was my high school’s yearbook editor and assistant newspaper editor, which got me interested in the world of media and print production,” she said. “I also did some correspondent work with the Piatt County Journal Republican, so I was already pretty familiar with how newspapers worked.”
She will be departing from The Prospectus with the start of the new semester, exploring opportunities in marketing with a multinational events company. However, she looks back on her tenure fondly.
“Over the past four years I’ve met a lot of great people,” she said. “Through the newspaper I was able to get press passes to a bunch of different festivals and concerts, which was probably the coolest part of my job. It was pretty daunting but also totally awesome to flash my credentials and join all the other photographers in the pit during a concert.”
For those considering a career in journalism, Hart offers reflections from her years of experience.
“As with anything you’re interested in pursuing, the first step is to find out how to get yourself involved,” she says. “Don’t think that you can just go to college, get your degree, and land a sweet job at the publication you’ve dreamt about without any experience in the field. Put yourself out there to try things that aren’t necessarily even related to your field but that you are interested in […] because the more skills you can bring to the table the more beneficial it will be for someone to hire you.”
Outside of the office, Hart views life as an ongoing adventure. She encourages others to take calculated risks and to step outside of their comfort zones in order to make the most of it.
“Life is meant to be scary, and holding on to things and ideas just to keep yourself comfortable is of no benefit to you or anyone else,” she says. “Let go.”