SMPA Alumna Talks Making Her Own Luck

After working on the business and reporting sides of the media industry, Sara Fischer said she can merge the two experiences in her current role as the media expert at Axios.

Sara Fischer
SMPA alumna Sara Fischer now writes the weekly newsletter Axios Media Trends. (Photo courtesy Sara Fischer)
October 14, 2019

By Briahnna Brown

As a journalist who covers journalism, Axios media reporter Sara Fischer, B.A. ‘12, M.A. ’14, loves everything media.

She came to George Washington University from Watchung, N.J., with hopes of pursuing journalism in a big city. Ms. Fischer said the School of Media and Public Affairs was a perfect fit because it allowed her to embrace all angles of the fast-paced media industry where she could get out of it whatever she put in.

"I wanted to be in an industry that moved at that pace, that empowers you to sort of make your luck,” Ms. Fischer said. “I thought journalism is one of the most entrepreneurial industries to do that."

Being in the heart of Washington, D.C., afforded her the opportunity to take advantage of media internships, starting her sophomore year with The Atlantic, which she continued up to her senior year when she started interning at Politico.

Ms. Fischer said that because many of her friends were also interning around the District, it was much more acceptable to not go out on a weekday night because she had to go to an internship in the morning. Without those internships though, Ms. Fisher said, she and many other GW graduates likely would not have been able to make the career advancements they have made.

"At GW, people wake up every day and truly put their best foot forward, and you can tell when you go into the workforce what kind of kids came out of GW,” Ms. Fischer said. “GW drives a culture of professionalism that really extends into the careers of everyone that graduates.”

When Ms. Fischer held these internships at The Atlantic and Politico, and even when she worked at The New York Times after graduating from GW, she was not a journalist. Rather, she worked on the business side and learned the other side of the industry. That, along with her reporting experience at CNN and The Washington Post, gave her the “invaluable” skillset that made her an ideal candidate for Axios.

She now writes the weekly newsletter Axios Media Trends, which focuses on the trends that shape the digital media landscape along with any other newsworthy content on the media industry, including social media platforms. Ms. Fischer said she loves being able to merge all aspects of her passion for the media industry at Axios, as well as the entrepreneurial culture there.

SMPA Professor Steven Roberts, who taught Ms. Fischer while she was at GW, said that she sets the pace in D.C. for coverage of the media business.

“Everyone reads her column on Axios, including me,” Mr. Roberts said. “That's why so many people talk to her so often; if you want your story told, tell it to Sara first!”

At Axios, like at GW, the possibilities are endless, Ms. Fischer said, and she has been able to thrive in both environments because she enthusiastically takes advantage of all the opportunities offered to her.

Her advice to GW students—along with taking some time to live in the moment—is to utilize the resources that the university offers. Ms. Fischer suggested finding an hour a week to speak to a career coach at the Center for Career Services or talk to a faculty member about opportunities on campus to make the best use of time at GW.

"Leverage that guidance,” Ms. Fischer said. “Don't feel like you have to do it yourself because those people have resources and experience that will really put you in a better position—I think—than if you just tried to go at things alone."

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