Jessica Kelley ’08 was sitting in her Advanced Placement English class at Fort Frye High School while she watched an airplane crash into the World Trade Center in New York City.
“It was then and there I knew I wanted to become a journalist,” Kelley says. “I had always had a love for New York City, even though I had never been there. So when I saw the city under attack, my protective instincts kicked in. I wanted to be there. I
wanted to be in the rubble recording all the stories, all the heartache for us to remember for years to come.”
Ten years after witnessing the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Kelley realized her dream of telling the story of that fateful day. As a video traffic programmer for Newsday in Long Island, N.Y., she had the opportunity to work on a video project commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The planning for the project began on Sept. 12, 2010, and throughout that year, Newsday employees worked tirelessly to record and catalog videos, photos and articles about the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The result was an extensive online database that catalogues the information for the public to search and view. Kelley’s role in the project was primarily to place and organize the videos online.
“It took hours of organizing and lots of lists to create what you see on your screen.,” Kelley says. “My main task was programming all of the finished video product into an interactive piece online.”
Despite the long hours and hard work, the efforts of Kelley and the rest of her team at Newsday certainly paid off. The project, entitled, “9/11 A Decade Later,” won a 2012 New York Emmy Award for Interactivity.
The group has recently been nominated for this year’s interactivity award for their multimedia web story entitled, “A Fighting Chance,” which details the history of New York’s Westbury boxing gym.
On a daily basis, Kelley’s duties as a video traffic programmer at Newsday require her involvement in the many aspects of video production. She sends videographers to shoot footage for potential videos, and once the footage has been polished, she spreads the video to the necessary spots on the Newsday website and other social media outlets. She then monitors how the videos are being viewed and uses this information to help her department improve.
“It's an exciting time for journalists in the online video world,” Kelley says. “We're not sure where this roller coaster is taking us, but we know it will be a big part of the future in our industry. We're just holding on for the ride.”
Kelley graduated from Marietta College with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television Broadcasting in 2007. As an undergraduate, she was the features editor for the television station and assistant manager of the radio station. She wrote, produced and co-starred in her own talk show, “Off Beat,” and was a member of Omicron Chi Theta and the National Broadcasting Society. She became one of the first graduates of Marietta College’s Master’s in International Corporate Media program in 2008.
“My education at Marietta College made me into the person I am today,” Kelley says. “It broadened my horizons, created networks and friendships that are still lasting today. I grew up in the Mid-Ohio Valley my entire life, but it wasn't until I was a student at Marietta College that made me proud to be a part of the community.”
Marilee Morrow, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Marietta College, worked closely with Kelley during her time as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Marietta.
“I am so proud of Jessica's Emmy,” Morrow says. “I know first-hand how hard she works and the energy she puts into the creative process. When I watched her Emmy award-winning piece, it was obvious to me that she just pours her emotions into her work and has grown into an even more amazing storyteller. Jessica has certainly earned every bit of her success and will certainly accomplish many more great things during her career.”
For Kelley, winning an Emmy Award for her work on Newsday’s commemorative video project was the realization of the dream that began when she was a high school junior.
“I'm truly humbled and incredibly overwhelmed with gratitude that I was even able to be involved with the process,” Kelley says. “It was a dream come true. I feel complete. Mission accomplished.”