My name is Madeleine Leigh. Right now, I’m pursuing my BAJMC in News and Politics and a minor in History at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Life at Drake is full of opportunities for me to get my hands in the soil of politics and journalism, and I’m taking full advantage of every minute on and off campus.
My philosophy on journalism
What I believe, more than anything, is that journalism serves an essential role in our democracy. A fourth branch, if you will. Spreading reliable information to the public so they can make informed decisions is a crucial part of our elections, one I am dedicating the rest of my life to upholding.
Video and audio editing are my favorite mode of storytelling, which is why I’ve worked to cultivate those skills for over five years. I was initially introduced to broadcasting my freshman year of high school through Panther Broadcasting Club, a daily news show.
At Drake, I’ve been a line producer for the 2019 Drake Relays. I managed a team of video editors, camera people, and news anchors to create content for three live shows, and created a news package myself where I interviewed two olympic level athletes.
I shot, edited, and produced a documentary about the #PaintItBlack movement on Drake University’s campus in the fall of 2018. Interviewing student leaders and members of administration and then piecing their stories into one cohesive narrative allowed me to hone my video and audio editing into something worthy of their work.
I’ve also produced, edited, and published a weekly podcast, The Split Ticket, where we discuss and explain complex political issues to help people understand the positions people take.
As of April 2019, I am the president of Students for Reproductive Justice. SRJ is dedicated to educating people about what exactly reproductive justice is and the ways we can cultivate it at Drake and in the larger Des Moines community.
My role involves liaising with our Planned Parenthood contacts, creating and managing a budget of approximately $2000, organizing events on campus, creating agendas for and leading our weekly meetings, and serving as our representative to other student and political organizations.
One opportunity I’m still ecstatic about is being a Resident Assistant in Herriott Hall, part of the first-year experience here at Drake. Acclimating new students to our University and working with like-minded fellows to shape our community into one that is welcoming, diverse, and inclusive has really allowed me to grow as a leader, and as an individual seeking the ability to connect with people from all walks of life.
In my spare time, I volunteer with political groups. I have experience canvassing, phone-banking and entering data in VAN, including NGP and VoteBuilder. Working on the ground level and interacting with people one to one allows me to connect with and understand other on a whole new level.
I’m so grateful for all the privileges and opportunities in my life so far, and I look forward to taking advantage of the opportunities to come.