In the class I’m teaching this semester, I asked my students to pick a journalist they admire and interview that person for a profile piece.

One student, Ashley, a broadcast major, chose Oprah Winfrey. Her classmates laughed; she ignored their derision and disbelief and forged ahead. I encouraged her. In journalism and life, I believe it’s important to ask for what you want–and keep asking. And believe that all things are possible with faith and persistence. I gave my students the Teddy Roosevelt quote about “daring greatly” for inspiration.

Ashley is daring greatly and I’m proud of her. (I XX her last name and details to protect her privacy.)

Attention: Media Relations

From:  Ms. Ashley XX

Date:  29 September 2010

Re: UAF JRN421: Journalism in Perspective

Dear Ms. Winfrey,

I’d like to begin this e-mail by letting you know how much I look up to you as a journalist.  My name is Ashley XX; I grew up in Joliet, Illinois, watching your show every day with my mom.  Our afternoon routine always consisted of watching the Oprah show and eating popcorn.  Even as a child, I remember admiring the way you tackled issues that actually mattered.  I am now a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, majoring in broadcast journalism.  My dream is one day to tackle important issues, too.

My professor asked me to interview anyone in journalism that I admire. I shot high and reached for you. My classmates laughed out loud at me, but you always challenge your viewers to live their best lives and not let anything hold them back.

I realize you’re a busy woman and you get countless requests; but, my professor encouraged us to dare greatly—so I’m daring to believe that you will hear my voice.

My classmates and I would be honored if you would allow us to ask you a few questions. While being a student in Alaska has been a unique experience, the remote area I live in has limited resources.  With the help of Skype, we could bring you to our classroom. If you’d like to visit, you would be welcome to stay at the North Pole XXX, which my mother manages (and she’d love to meet you, too).

Our semester doesn’t end until mid-December. Our final is Dec. 16, 2010.  If you have any questions or you’d like more information from me, you may contact me by e-mail at  XXX or by phone at XXX.  I would also be happy to call you if you give me a time and a number.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this letter and consider my sincere request.  I look forward to hearing back from you!


Ashley XX