Uncompromising About Language: An Interview with Alexa McMenamin, FCLC '17

Photo Credit: Kyra Conroy FCLC 2019

Photo Credit: Kyra Conroy FCLC 2019

Alexa McMenamin is a graduating senior at FCLC and regular contributor to Teen Vogue where she has covered topics ranging from free college plans, free speech for university faculty and hate crimes: 
http://www.teenvogue.com/contributor/alexa-mcmenamin

Big congratulations on writing for Teen Vogue. Can you take us through how this came about?

I’ve wanted to write for Teen Vogue since I was in 7th grade. I only started pursuing it in earnest once the political shift in their digital content became clear, with the influence of Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth and Digital Editor Phillip Picardi. I became a woman obsessed: it just seemed like the place I needed to be, as a Political Science-English double major who writes as a form of social justice. It seemed like Teen Vogue had similar objectives. I even arranged a meeting with Elaine in which I gave her my resume (and she put me on her Instagram Story, which I think truly qualifies it as a success). Eventually my best friend saw Picardi tweet looking for Politics writers and she immediately sent the tweet to me (I owe her big time). I immediately emailed him some clips and a link to my website, which I worked on during the Creative Writing Concentration Capstone course. The next day, I was published.

What advice do you have for students who want to pursue journalism?

I’ve given up in working in journalism about a million times, but I think now especially, with the role that social media plays in ensuring that diverse and otherwise-smothered narratives are accessible, really putting yourself out there as someone who wants to have difficult conversations does a lot. So does pushing yourself to be reading as much news as possible - no matter how exhausting that is. So much of what I learned about how to write for today’s news came from learning from classic media about how to write, such as through my position as an editor on the Observer, but also being uncompromising about language and rhetoric that resists perpetuating oppression. So, that might all be confusing - just don’t be afraid to compromise your politics for your writing. News is always political, and it especially is now.

What are you most looking forward to as you think of life post-Fordham?

Sleep! And the ability to speak my opinions a bit more freely without worrying about the positions I hold on campus.