Ashley Briggs '17

Ashley Briggs '17
Washington, D.C.
Mass communication 
News producer, WUSA-TV 

For Ashley Briggs '17, a multimedia journalist, representation matters everywhere from college classrooms to media newsrooms. 

She remembers as a little girl using a pretend microphone to host her very own talk show much like Oprah Winfrey; one of the first Black women in media she recalls ever seeing. Her interest in communication, media and news followed her throughout her childhood years but upon coming to Winthrop in 2013, she was not sure what degree she wanted to pursue. 

She arrived on campus for move-in day with mixed emotions: excited, nervous and scared. 

“I remember crying because I was leaving home and I would be away from my family for an extended time but I also had this calming sense that everything was going to be OK. I had the feeling that I belonged there and that this is the next chapter, the next step for me,” said Briggs, who grew up in Florence, South Carolina

She joined student organizations (Vision of Prayze Gospel Choir, Council of Student Leaders) and quickly immersed herself in typical college life like joining her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and scheduling her common time activities

“Everyone would hang out on Scholars Walk and if you hadn't seen your friends or classmates, that was the opportunity to interact and see everyone. You had to make sure you had on your best outfits on Tuesdays and Thursdays because everyone would be out there congregating!” Briggs recalled.  

Eventually she became a mass communication major and started to become more comfortable with developing skills in media. She joined the Mass Communication Student Advisory Board and began to see what a potential career in broadcast communication could look like. 

“Winthrop was very influential in preparing me and giving me the skills I needed to succeed,” said Briggs, a news producer with WACH FOX in Columbia, South Carolina.  

“My time at Winthrop really challenged me. It's a school where you really earn your education. Faculty make sure you put in the time and effort to develop everything you need … because it's not a walk in the park,” she said. 

During difficult periods, Briggs had a good support system on campus. She was heavily influenced by Black faculty members, many of them providing a listening ear or advice on how to navigate life at Winthrop. More importantly, they boosted her confidence and encouraged her to pursue her dreams. 

Faculty members like Associate Professor of Mass Communication Nathaniel Frederick and Professor of Political Science Adolphus Belk were so encouraging. Just seeing their passion and their drive really inspired me. It let me know that if they can accomplish these things in their career, I can to,” she said. 

An internship at a television station in Washington, D.C., provided a pivotal moment where she was able to see Black women in newsroom positions to which she  aspired. 

“Seeing diversity in the newsroom and Black women in those roles inspired me. As producers, they are the voice. They are the key decision-makers,” she said. 

Follow @wachfox to see how Briggs produces multimedia news packages on a range of stories from house fires to homicides.