A Pioneer in On-Line Journalism, May Graduate Plans on Making Positive
Impact on Television Reporting
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.
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.
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."
who will earn a B.A. in English
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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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."
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
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."
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."
more information, Anna Robertson can be reached through May 12 at
(804) 243-2334 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857