Louis Johnson

Credentials: Bleacher Report

Position title: App/Frontpage Programming

Major: Communication Arts (Radio, TV, Film)

Certificate: Digital Studies

Graduation Date: May 2016

How did you end up where you are today?

As most liberal arts majors will figure out, there isn’t one specific career path to pursue after graduation. Not only is the rate of change faster and faster each year in all industries, but the skills you possess currently may not be the skills that end up being the most valuable in your career one year, two years, or ten years down the road.

With that said, I’ve bounced around quite a bit in my first three years out of undergrad. Here’s where I’ve been and what I’ve done:

  • Social media & content at a small PR agency in MN for 6 months
  • PR on contract for Best Buy corporate in MN for 8 months
  • Assistant account executive for a midsize PR agency in San Francisco for 2 months
  • Content programming at Bleacher Report in San Francisco for the last 13 months

To get where I am today, I had to go through a lot of grueling periods of unemployment, a lot of networking, a big move, and ultimately, a ton of luck.

Now at Bleacher Report, I work as part of a team compiling information, packaging digital assets and executing strategy on all the content that’s seen within Bleacher Report’s app and on their website. From sending push alerts to your phone to facilitating discussions on our platforms, we do it all!

How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?

More than ever, knowing how to navigate digital media systems and content is essential for liberal arts majors. If you’re going into event planning, PR, journalism, sales, etc., it’s to your advantage to utilize programs like Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign, etc.

I took Com Arts 155 (Intro to Digital Media Production) with Prof. Eric Hoyt and that class was a great introduction to a variety of software programs. Also, Prof. Hoyt is just a genuinely good guy who is always willing to help, so he’s a great person to keep in your network. I wish I could go back and learn even more tangible skills through Digital Studies because those are the skills that are sought after and coveted in today’s workforce.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Yes, two. The first is network, network, network! It can be a dirty word as you never want to align yourself with people just to use them. What you want is a mutually beneficial relationship, and in the best case, a friendship. Every job I’ve gotten has been through a connection, so it’s imperative that you get out and meet people inside and outside of your interests. UW is a great place to start – your peers are going to do great things, you’re going to do great things, so start building those relationships today.

The second is to learn the skills of the times. You’ll find that your coursework only dives into a sliver of the in-demand talent in the workforce. Don’t wait for a course to teach you something you’re interested in. If you want to work in video production, start shooting. If you want to work in design, start creating digital art in your free time. Those passions that develop into skills are going to make you shine when it comes time to find a career.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career so far?

While I have yet to hit that big milestone or promotion or raise, there are a few things I’m especially proud of: being adaptable, diverse, resilient, and adventurous; learning as much as I can about my co-workers and doing what I can to empower their goals; and treating everyone from the door lady to the janitors of the office with respect. These are the building blocks to your professional self that I believe are the most important in building a respectable career. I truly believe that good things come to those who work hard and treat everyone with respect and goodwill.