Jaden Amos is a social media ninja. As a journalist, she's passionate about using Twitter and Instagram to bring stories to new audiences and serve different readers and communities. Her personal Twitter page has nearly 40,000 tweets. And this summer, Amos is putting her chops to work running social media for an international venue booking company in London, England.
Amos, an Indiana University junior studying journalism, is taking part in the Media School's Summer in London Program, which gives students the opportunity to spend six weeks learning, working and living in one of the biggest cities in Europe. She's not only far from Bloomington and her home of Portage, Indiana, but Amos said she's also far from where she ever imagined she'd be.
Growing up, Amos assumed she would become a lawyer or doctor one day. But when she took her first biology class in high school, it became clear that pursuing the medical profession would not be fulfilling for her. She was starting to feel like she may not be cut out for any profession when her friend convinced her to take a journalism class.
"My teacher was like, 'You're really good at this,' and it was the first time I really felt affirmed by someone," Amos said. "After that, it just felt like a no-brainer that I would become a journalist."
When it came time to choose a university, Amos was offered the Cox Engagement Scholarship, a program that gives her the opportunity to volunteer every week at the Crestmont Boys and Girls Club. The deal was sweetened by a spot in the Ernie Pyle Scholars Program, a Hudson and Holland Scholarship and glowing reviews of IU's journalism program from former staff of her high school newspaper.
Amos said her time at IU has only affirmed that she made the right decision. She's connected IU students with service-learning opportunities in the Bloomington community through her work with the Boys and Girls Club. She's learned hands-on reporting skills as a reporter for the Indiana Daily Student. She was even able to travel abroad for the first time with the course From London to Paris: In the Footsteps of Ernie Pyle.
The course -- which analyzes how Pyle, an IU alumnus and one of America’s most famous World War II correspondents, described faraway scenes and people to audiences back home -- includes spring break travel to London, Normandy and Paris. Though Amos had visited London during this trip, she said living and working in the city this summer has been a different experience.
At Hire Space, Amos spends 20 hours each week crafting Instagram stories, producing tweets and editing blog posts geared toward business planners, event venues and professionals booking conferences across the United Kingdom. She said that switching gears from journalistic writing for a general audience to targeting a specific demographic has been a challenge.
"You'd think that since people in England speak English that social media would be similar to how it is in the States, but that's not the case," Amos said. "The trends are different, the slang people use is different, and I've had to pick up on that pretty quickly."
But Amos said this experience will give her the edge she needs to be successful in her career. She's been taking notes on what strategies she can transfer to her term as social media editor for the Indiana Daily Student in the fall.
Amos is also learning about British media through a weekly class that is part of the Summer in London Program. She said she's learned how British broadcast news focuses much less on commentary than television news in the U.S. and that newspapers in the U.K. are much more like tabloids than American publications. The class has heard from reporters who work for CBS and will visit Bloomberg and Al Jazeera offices during their time in London.
Outside the classroom and the office, Amos and her classmates are jumping at every opportunity to soak up the culture offered in an exciting global city like London. They schedule visits to museums and landmarks and attend shows and arts events weekly. They recently took a weekend trip to Paris, and they're planning other excursions to European cities before the program ends. Experiences like these, Amos said, are teaching her how to be a better global citizen.
"This experience has helped me realize that no matter how big the world is, people are same," Amos said. "London is so much more diverse than I ever expected, and living here has opened my eyes to the way others perceive America and our culture. That kind of global knowledge that I'm getting here will help me make small changes to make Bloomington and the U.S. a better place."
On Tuesday, May 28, join us to follow Jaden Amos through her day as an IU student as part of our One Day/One Hoosier series. Look for her story through @IUBloomington on Twitter, @iubloomington on Instagram and iu_bloomington on Snapchat starting around 10 a.m. EDT.