Alissa Pietila never thought she’d be working for a television station, let alone leading her own segment on the five o’clock news.
Pietila, a 2014 Finlandia University alumna, graduated with a bachelor’s in communication with a concentration in journalism and a minor in psychology. During college, she always thought she would work in a magazine and write long-form articles. Instead, she took a job at the Daily Globe in Ironwood before moving to Expensify, a startup based in San Francisco with an Ironwood office, as a customer success officer. Now, she’s the digital content manager and web producer for WLUC TV6 and FoxUP in Marquette.
In her role, she manages all of the station’s social media accounts, web stories, videos and contests. She also trains all new news reporters on web and social requirements.
“When I was in college, a lot of my research was in social media and how it impacts people and how it can be used in a beneficial way,” said Pietila. “I have the ability to control what we put on our social media accounts, and to have some sort of inner knowledge of that ahead of time was extremely helpful for this job.”
In an effort to push herself out of her comfort zone, she started a segment called ‘First Look at the Web’ on TV6 last month that airs daily at five o’clock.
“The five o’clock newscast isn’t something I ever thought I would do,” said Pietila. “When my boss approached me, I was super hesitant. I always considered myself a behind-the-scenes person.”
Pietila relied on her sisu to overcome her fear and take the leap.
“The one thing I always tell people is to step outside your comfort zone,” she said. “For me, sisu is perseverance. It’s continuing through the ups and downs and keeping your faith that everything will be okay.”
She credits her communication classes at Finlandia for helping her find the voice and confidence to lead the segment.
“I’m a pretty quiet person for the most part,” she said. “I don’t know if my grandma would agree to that, but I generally keep to myself a bit. But those classes where you’re encouraged to talk and communicate and have discussions were really beneficial for me.”
Alissa Pietila found the perfect fit at FinnU
For Pietila, the small school environment helped her succeed and gave her opportunities she may not have had at other universities, such as photographing the hockey teams and learning more about her Finnish heritage.
“At my high school graduation, I graduated with 18 other people, so being at smaller college was really important to me,” said Pietila. “Having the individual communication with professors was also important. Being able to stop by their office and have a conversation about whatever was on your mind really helped me get through school.”
She keeps that small school and town connection in mind when posting stories to social media and leading her segment.
“At this point in my life, my ‘why’ is getting that information out to people,” she said. “Working in news can be really difficult. You get all the accidents and crime, and those stories are hard to read. But getting the important information out to people, like fire dangers or road closures, seems like a minor thing, but those are things that impact people’s daily lives.
“If I can make their day better in some way, that’s why I do what I do.”Tags: Alissa Pietila, Alumni, Alumni Update, Fox UP, WLUC TV6