Long hours. Tight deadlines. Heated debates. The stress of the daily news cycle.
These are all part of Ashley Killough’s normal.
But before she was a reporter and producer for CNN, Ashley was a student reporter for The Lariat. She double-majored in international studies and journalism as part of the BIC program.
“When I think about my time at Baylor, the relationships I built with professors are my most nostalgic memories,” she says. “I truly miss the supportive and intellectually challenging environment they fostered.”
That environment helped shape her as a journalist, and she credits a large group of professors for helping her win a Fulbright Scholarship, igniting her passion for the news, and staying sane through the stress of juggling a demanding academic schedule while pursuing her dreams.
Ashley graduated from Baylor in 2009, then interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education in DC that summer. After moving to Armenia for a year on the Fulbright Scholarship, Ashley returned for a grad degree in broadcast journalism at Columbia University. That opened the door for a job at CNN in 2011.
As the 2016 presidential race heated up, Ashley was assigned to report on the Republican primaries. When Donald Trump secured the nomination, she covered his campaign from March 2016 up until Election Day, and then through the transition to the White House. That experience required her to fly around the country on the press plane, covering his speeches as an embed that acted as the eyes and ears for CNN at all of his events.
“I’ve loved getting to travel and see different parts of the country and talk to people all over the place,” she says. “It’s such a rare opportunity and it helps me understand this country, which better informs my reporting.”
During the campaign, Ashley spent almost two years on the road and traveled to 43 states. While the life of a reporter can at times appear glamorous, the reality is that the work is demanding and exhausting.
“One thing I wasn’t prepared for was learning how to write while sitting in moving buses. That was pretty rough on the stomach during the campaign,” she says. “Joking aside, I often tell people working on a daily paper (The Lariat) was the best training I could have gotten.”
After the campaign concluded, Ashley was reassigned to cover the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, where she continues to work today. While the long hours, tight deadlines, and heated debates don’t show any signs of slowing down, the work has been rewarding and fulfilling.
“I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot and go in depth on some of the most divisive issues in our country – gun control, immigration, foreign policy – for example, and I’ve met interesting, knowledgeable people on both sides,” she says. “Getting to cover these issues gives you a greater appreciation for how complex our country is, but also how lucky we are to live in a society that can debate freely – even if it gets intense and emotional at times.”
Ashley’s reporting can be found at www.cnn.com/profiles/ashley-killough.