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Tom LaVenture graduated from UW-Superior in 1997 with degrees in Political Science and Journalism. As an Army Veteran, LaVenture completed his degree in two parts. He attended UW-Superior from 1985 to 1988 and then 1995 to 1997, with a second stint in the military in between. LaVenture currently works as a Staff Writer with the Crimes and Courts beat for The Garden Island (daily newspaper) in Lihu'e, Hawai'i.
As a student, LaVenture took advantage of many academic, co-curricular, and employment opportunities available on campus. He served as a Veteran's Clerk in the Registrars office, a member of the Veteran's Club, and attended the UW Soviet Seminar in 1988, which coincided with his passion Political Science. LaVenture developed his interest in writing and journalism as a member of the school newspaper, called the Promethean. He also discovered he had a passion for world culture and language, which led him to take the first Japanese language class offered at UW-Superior. LaVenture was also active in the International Students Organization, where he met friends from various cultural backgrounds.
When asked about what led him to pursue a career in journalism, LaVenture explains that the Japanese language course "fueled my ambition to work with communities of color and let to my work at the Asian American Press."
After graduating, LaVenture started working as a writer and editor for the weekly newspaper, Asian American Press in St. Paul Minnesota. In 2008 he took a job with The Daily Journal in International Fall, MN. In late June, 2011, LaVenture moved to Kaua'i, Hawai'i and started his search for a new journalism position by searching the website Cub Reporters, which is where he found his current position. LaVenture explains that "After working for 15 years with Asian American Press … it was really nice to find another predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander community concentration."
When asked what degree(s) would be appropriate to get into the journalism field, he advises students to pursue a degree in journalism or mass communication. Either degree will help student with their writing and newsgathering skills. Pairing the degree with the liberal arts focus that UW-Superior students receive helps "round out the process to make for solid reporting," LaVenture states. He also encourages others interested in the field to get experience in all types of media because that will provide them with the most opportunities, including broadcast, print and online journalism. In his opinion all three areas are intersecting more and more.
LaVenture would also suggest students look into "getting an internship every summer or as soon as possible after school. That will let you gain the type of experience you want as a student and media outlets usually have many opportunities. That experience is the best possible foot in the door for positions in major media right out of college.
Tom LaVenture was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. His full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Tashina Martinson on April 8th, 2012. Article written by Shannon Gilligan
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