Meet Editor-in-Chief of JCU’s Student Run Newspaper, Ilenia Reale

Ilenia Reale is a Communications major and Business Administration minor from Rome, Italy. She is Editor-in-Chief of  The Matthew, JCU’s student-run newspaper. She was a JCU student Ambassador and has also been an Orientation Assistant.  

Ilenia Reale

Ilenia Reale

What brought you to JCU?
I studied abroad near Seattle in the US during my fourth year in high school, and I knew that I wanted to continue my education within the American system. When I came back, I found out about JCU, and I thought it was a perfect match. It offered me an American education while allowing me to stay close to family. 

Why did you choose to combine a major in Communications with a minor in Business Administration?
The communications curriculum is broad and allows you to try different subjects like digital production, communication theory, public speaking, and writing. I was exposed to different writing styles, such as screenwriting, creative writing, and journalism. These courses and The Matthew inspired me to write. 

I like communications, but I thought that it was too abstract. I noticed that many business classes went hand in hand with communications topics, such as public relations and journalism. With a business minor, you can choose classes from marketing management, finance, business, or law. I decided to concentrate on business and law specifically because my minor is not focusing on a singular subject. I’m taking Public Relations now, I took Business Communications and law courses like Criminology, Freedom of Speech, Globalization & Crime. All of these courses are useful for journalism. 

You are the editor-in-chief of The Matthew, JCU’s student-led newspaper. What does this entail?
I connected with The Matthew staff, and I told them I wanted to write reviews of TV shows and places in Rome. I wasn’t very comfortable writing at first, so I decided to start out as a copyeditor. I wrote a piece that I’m proud of about the American Sign Language seminars introduced in 2021. Also, I was paired with a senior staff writer, and I assisted with research for a piece on the US presidential elections. After the first issue of The Matthew came out, I started editing, writing, and having my reviews published. It was exciting, I learned a lot from our advisor, Professor Elizabeth Macias Gutierrez. I noticed how my writing improved from working for The Matthew. I was selected to be Editor-in-Chief in Fall 2021. As editor-in-chief, I supervise everyone on the staff. Since we’re in a university context, we’re a platform for students. 

Last semester you did a research assistantship with Professor Erica Tasini, how was that experience and why did you choose to do this?
Even though I concluded my research assistantship last semester, I’m still working with Professor Tasini. We’re working on a documentary about an unreleased Italian feminist record from the seventies by Gianfranca Montedoro that was rerecorded recently by various Italian musicians. The album deals with feminist issues that are still relevant, and the documentary compares 1970s Italy to today.  My job is to consult archives, mainly clips, starting from the 1920s until now. The research group is varied in terms of age, so it’s interesting to see everyone’s perspective. It is nice because Professor Tasini asks us for our input on how we think women are treated today.

What are your plans for the future?
I am passionate about journalism, and it’s my main choice for the future. I want to pursue a master’s degree abroad. I started an application for the Columbia School of Journalism. I’m also considering editing as a future career because I’m assertive and a perfectionist and these are some of the qualities you need to possess to be a successful editor. My third option would be Public Relations. I’m taking a public relation class right now with Professor Michèle Favorite, and I really enjoy it.