After Completing Her Final Semester from Home, RWU Senior Moving Cross Country to Start Dream Job

Senior Megan Willgoos will move next month to start work as a multimedia journalist at a Medford, Oregon news station.

By Julia Rubin
Person standing in grassy field looking at camera.
Willgoos reports on Brayton Point Tower Explosions from RWU Campus, as part of the Journalism program's experiential curriculum. Image Credit: Paola Prado

COVENTRY, R.I. – During this time of social distancing, Senior Megan Willgoos is staying home with her family in Coventry. She’s attending online classes in the kitchen, working out with her mom in the living room, enjoying paint nights with her parents and watching Ozark on Netflix.

While her last semester at Roger is vastly different than expected, she’s grateful for the chance to soak up time with her family, because next month, the New England-born Journalism major will pack up and move across the country to work as a multimedia journalist at KTVL News in Medford, Oregon.

RWU news caught up with Willgoos to hear about landing her dream job, especially at a time when journalism is more important than ever. 

Three people pose, holding up paintings.
Willgoos and her parents, showing off their artwork from a paint night they had during quarantine. 

First of all, congratulations! How do you feel?

Thanks! I’m so excited. I’ve been training for four years in classes for this moment, so the fact that it’s actually here and I’ll actually be doing what I learned in school is so exciting to me. It’s also exciting to make my family proud and to make my professors proud, it’s all I could have asked for. The fact that I’m going to do what I’ve always wanted to do is really important to me. I just knew growing up that I wanted to do a job that didn’t feel like a job. I wanted to do a job where I enjoy my life every day – and it’s different every day – and that’s exactly what it will be like reporting news in Medford.  

What will your days be like?

I’ll pitch a story in the morning, and then once they approve it, I’ll go out and talk to sources, record the interview, and then I go back and write the script. Then I edit it all together and put it up. 

Do you know anyone in Oregon?

I know nobody in Oregon! It’s something new. I’ll be in the mountains and two hours from the coast, and I can go to Cali in two hours. It will get me out of my comfort zone. That’s the biggest thing. I definitely will get homesick but I feel like I need to do this.

Person standing in front of building holding diploma.
Willgoos with her Lambda Pi Eta certificate, the National Communication Honor Society that she won last year. 

How will you be getting to Oregon?

Before [the pandemic] was going on, the plan was to ship my car and then I would fly. We’re still trying to do that because I don’t think my little Honda Civic would make it across the country. We’ve been looking at tickets for May and so far everything looks okay, but it’s all a waiting game. 

What are some of the challenges of starting this job in these current times?

May 26 is my start date. I don’t know what coronavirus will look like then. I know they just hired someone who has been doing a lot of online classes to learn editing software. They seem like they have adjusted well, given the situation. I may not get that experience of always being in the newsroom surrounded by everyone. I may go out with one reporter and stick with that one reporter, while I’m training. But, it doesn’t scare me, personally. It will definitely be a unique way of training with what’s going on right now, but I have confidence they’ll do a good job. 

Why is multimedia journalism especially important right now?

Journalists are essential workers now, because they are delivering the news and people watch it to figure out what’s going on. The fact that it’s multimedia means it’s on the internet and television. That’s where people are getting their news from. Without us, you wouldn’t know what’s going on. That’s one of the great things about going into this field even though it’s a rough time. My job is still very much necessary, if not more necessary now than it was before. It’s kind of scary going into a job with this big of a story to cover, but my stories will never run out because you can take so many different angles. 

One person stands in front of building, talking to camera, while another person records.
On an RWU trip to Santo Domingo this Winter break, Willgoos reports while Associate Professor of Journalism Paola Prado works the camera. 

Were there any people or resources at Roger that helped you to get here?

All my thanks go to [Associate Professor of Journalism] Paola Prado, my advisor, mentor, and professor. I wouldn’t be going to Oregon without her help. She’s always believed in my from the start. She always pushed me, too. At the time, I was quite mad at her whenever she pushed me, but looking back, she pushed me because she knew what was best for me and knew what I would experience in the field. Creating the most realistic possible environment in the classroom helped me be prepared for the real world. She’s a professor, but she’s also a mentor and advisor. She’s there for you. You can go to her when you’re having any issue and she’ll listen. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Obviously, I’m heartbroken that I can’t finish out my senior year but I’m so grateful that I have this job opportunity. I don’t think seniors should give up looking for jobs despite what’s going on.  

Keep in touch with Megan and follow her progress on Twitter @mwillgoos