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Anna Robertson
Stephanie Gross
Anna Robertson

Already A Pioneer in On-Line Journalism, May Graduate Plans on Making Positive Impact on Television Reporting

April 28, 2000 -- Anna Robertson is determined to change the way Americans consume the news. Given the legacy she leaves at the University of Virginia after graduating May 21, there's plenty of evidence that she will succeed.

In December 1998 Robertson created an on-line news magazine called theangle.com (located at www.theangle.com). Affiliated with Washingtonpost.com, the on-line version of the Washington Post, theangle.com presents news packaged with interactive discussion, photo galleries, animation and graphics. Although just over a year old, theangle.com was one of three finalists in the "Best On-line College Newspaper" category in the national Editor and Publisher on-line awards competition this February.

Staffed with eight editors, several Web graphic designers and 20 writers who volunteer hours of their time, theangle.com appears every other Wednesday during the academic year. The on-line news magazine, which began as a monthly publication, looks much like an electronic version of a newspaper, but it probes issues in more depth than newspapers usually do. A recent issue, for example, focused on the "Take Back the Night" campaign to end sexual assault, offering a selection of photos tracking the event as well as resources to help assault victims. With its color images and inviting graphics, theangle.com delivers news in such a novel way that Robertson's teachers have little doubt that she is making a mark in journalism. "We're looking at the future of journalism," predicted William H. Fishback, a senior lecturer who teaches news writing. "Anna has led the way here in using technology to bring in a new generation of news readers."

Robertson, who will earn a B.A. in English and history through U.Va.'s American studies program, plans on heading to New York City after graduation to work in television news. She wants to bring seriousness and quality writing to television reporting and hopes to link on-line news sources more closely with television. "I love the potential of powerful images on television," Robertson said. "I think TV news has strong potential to be of service to people. It can enrich their lives."

She also will continue working with Washingtonpost.com, where she interned and built long-lasting relationships. A consultant to the electronic news source, Robertson is helping develop its education and children's sections.

"Anna is one of the most talented young journalists I've worked with in years," said Jim Sheppard, Washingtonpost.com deputy editor. "She blends traditional journalism skills with solid thinking about how to present factual, balanced news in the fast-paced, interactive medium of the Web."

Robertson's work at U.Va. has benefited many students. Frustrated by a lack of a journalism department at U.Va., Robertson created the Journalism Information Network, an electronic source that provides information on internships, speakers, seminars and jobs. Many students, in addition to securing valuable experience working on theangle.com, have gained skills by engaging in internships through the electronic network.

A component of the network will live on as part of U.Va.'s new media studies program. Robertson has worked closely with Johanna Drucker, the Robertson Professor of Media Studies, to ensure that the practice of holding symposiums with prominent journalists will continue through the media studies program. Representatives of theangle.com will also serve on the student advisory board of the media studies program.

Reflecting on what the experience of creating an electronic network and magazine has taught her, Robertson said, "I've learned that if a need is not being met, you can rise to the occasion to meet that need. I've also learned that there is much support here for students who take their own initiative."

Elections of new staff members to guide the next generation of theangle.com have already taken place, and Robertson is proud that the news site will continue. "Theangle.com gives students with different backgrounds an opportunity to become leaders in a new, exciting medium," she said.

Robertson sees theangle.com, written specifically to address issues of importance to students, as being a service to the U.Va. community. "The site provides coverage and analysis of topics of interest to U.Va. students and college students in general. I hope I'm leaving the University a bit better than I found it."

Former teacher Fishback has no doubts that Robertson, who graduated from the same Arlington high school as Katie Couric, will enjoy success in journalism. "I don't think she will follow in Katie Couric's footsteps," he said. "But in 10 years, Katie Couric's boss might be Anna Robertson."

For more information, Anna Robertson can be reached through May 12 at (804) 243-2334 or via asr4c@virginia.edu.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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