Starting a new career is often a hectic, yet rewarding experience, but starting a new career in the middle of a pandemic was something else altogether, according to Madeline Burke, a December 2019 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Burke, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a minor in legal studies, had only been on the job as an editorial intern for About You (AY) and Arkansas Money and Politics (AMP) for a week when the staff began working remotely due to COVID-19.
“I have been writing a lot of content for print and online. I’ve been covering the governor’s press conferences every day since the beginning,” Burke said. “Each day is different and comes with a new story. I’m really glad to have this experience and to learn from our writers.”
Burke had only worked as an intern for three months when she was promoted to an associate editor in June. Tyler Hale, an online editor at AY Media Group, said Burke has become his “secret weapon” since joining AY and AMP.
“She has been instrumental in brainstorming new ideas for content, helping out on both the print and online sides of the magazines, and writing untold numbers of articles,” Hale said. “With our team spread out, she leapt to the occasion, covering all of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily press conferences for AMP. That was a lifesaver!”
At AY, Burke covers lifestyle events and issues, while she covers business and politics for AMP.
“Publishing is not for the faint-hearted, but Madeline has become a pro in a short amount of time,” Hale said. “She is a valued asset for our editorial team. Whenever I need to get something done efficiently, Madeline is always my ‘go-to.’ Between her strong work ethic and her still-growing talent, Madeline is definitely one to watch!”
While Burke is an award-winning legal writer, this is the first time she’s worked as a reporter and is finding the change in writing style interesting.
“I like writing and reporting because I think it’s really important to tell stories and inform the public about what is going on around them,” she said. “We try to focus on the good and positive at AY that center on Arkansans and how they are lifting each other up and making a positive contribution. I love learning more about others and what is going on around me.”
She’s thankful to her mentors at UA Little Rock, Dr. Jessica Scott, and Dr. Simon Hawkins from the Donaghey Scholars Program and Dr. Casey Rockwell, assistant professor of marketing and advertising, for helping her grow as a successful student and writer.
“I think I’ve always known that I enjoy writing from the time I started school at UA Little Rock,” she said. “The Donaghey Scholars Program and the curriculum prepared me to be a good writer. All of their essay-based coursework helped me develop my writing skills and a passion for it.”
In the fall, Burke will also attend the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, where she will pursue a Master of Public Service.
“I like to consider myself a lifelong learner and take advantage of all the opportunities I have to see where life takes me,” Burke said. “I am taking in my experience at AY and the Clinton School as an experience to grow my skills. No matter what, I want to make a positive impact on others around me.”