“My Central professors helped me establish critical thinking skills and always challenged me to ask questions. ”
– Hannah Cross ’19
Hometown: Riceville, Iowa
Major: Communication Studies
Scholarships: Presidential, Hersbergen, Gaass, Central Community Service Award and Phi Theta Kappa
Campus Activities: Zeta Upsilon and Improv Club
Career Goal: Sports Correspondent
Hannah Cross ’19 has a gift for storytelling. Thanks to Central College, she’s explored that gift through stand-up comedy, sports information, public relations and magazine experience—both on campus and as far away as London. After graduating as a communication studies major, she’ll combine her interest in broadcasting and sports at a Master of Arts in Sports Journalism program at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom.
The former high school track and field competitor and daughter of a newspaper editor grew up around sports and journalism and said she always knew she wanted to end up in broadcasting. But like many Central students, she took time to explore a number of related interests along the way.
She took classes coaching, sociology and sport and acting and joined Central College’s Improv Club her freshman year. She also worked in Central’s Sports Information Department, where she told Central athletes’ stories via articles, press releases and game statistics. Through a service-learning project in her Introduction to International Politics class, Cross conducted interviews and managed social media for CultureALL, a Des Moines, Iowa, organization that promotes cultural diversity.
During two semesters of study abroad in London she took a History, Theory and Performance of Stand-up Comedy class—and performed at a London comedy club as her final exam. “The pro comic who came up after me said he was really impressed,” Cross says. She also interned in public relations at London’s TriNorth Communications, writing articles and managing social media for Netball magazine, her first foray into magazine production.
“Lunch with my co-workers was one of the best parts of my internship,” she says. “I learned a lot about how you negotiate with clients. It’s about sticking with what you believe but also fitting what your client wants.” Hannah’s co-workers even held a going-away party for her, and she’s kept in touch: “I reached out to one of them to get a reference letter for grad school,” she says.
She liked studying in London so much she applied to graduate schools in the U.K., including the University of Lincoln. Its director of the Master’s in Sports Journalism program “was impressed with the variety of knowledge that I had in various areas, especially communication theory,” Cross says.
She wasn’t surprised. “My Central professors helped me establish critical thinking skills and always challenged me to always ask questions. Really reach out to your professors,” she advises. “They will help you with your career aspirations in more ways than you think. Dennis Doyle, professor of communications studies, was not just an advisor, but a mentor.”
At Lincoln, Cross looks forward to the prospect of interning at the British television network Sky Sports, with which the university has connections. After graduate school, she hopes to apply her talents as a sports correspondent.
“I think sports journalism should be about getting to know the athletes,” she says. She’s confident that her liberal arts background at Central combined with her many internships and cross-cultural experiences allow her to offer a unique perspective on the subject.
— Profile written by: Brandon Rosas ’20