Nathan Crawford knew he wanted to work in broadcast journalism and digital media ever since the summer of 2007.
“I remember turning on The Today Show when I was ten years old and immediately becoming mesmerized by the sights and sounds of a television studio,” says Crawford, who majored in Communication with a double concentration in Journalism and Media Production here at George Mason.
Now an alumnus, Crawford still loves the world of journalism, specifically when it comes to highlighting the stories of those around him.
“Storytelling is at the heart of journalism,” explains Crawford. “This world is one of true amazement and awe if only we take [the] time to look for [stories] like a journalist.”
Crawford had the opportunity to strengthen his passion for media through courses directly related to his interests, like HNRS 110: Principles of Research and Inquiry, which was one of his favorite courses within the Honors College.
“I never thought that I [could] do academic-based research for my major, and this class proved me wrong,” says Crawford, who researched “how social media affects political marketing towards millennials in presidential elections.” Crawford took HNRS 110 during the Fall 2016 semester, conducting his research during the last few months of the 2016 presidential election. The timing of his research allowed Crawford to observe how politics and media affect one another in real-time. “It was a unique opportunity to see how social media played a role in getting millennials involved in the political process.”
Beyond the classroom, Crawford wore many hats across the university, including working for the Office of Admissions and Integrated Enrollment Marketing and on the Honors College Communications Team. In both those roles, Crawford was able to thrive as an individual and learn how to manage social media – almost by accident. “When I first started doing social media, it was by chance,” he explains, but “it was a very important and helpful stepping stone to launch me into where I really want to be.”
He also gave back to the Mason community by helping freshmen navigate college as a Resident Assistant for Housing and Residence Life and was an active member of numerous student organizations, such as the Honors College Recruitment Team and Society of Professional Journalists. One organization that is dear to him is the Mason Ambassadors, a group of students who give tours to prospective Mason families and provide aid for the university’s open house events, under the Office of Admissions.
Crawford joined the Mason Ambassadors his first semester as a student and served as the organization’s president his senior year. He considered it a great honor to “[oversee] the amazing 130 tour guides and see the impact they all have on future Patriots and their families.”
Crawford knows firsthand the unique opportunities that Mason offers to its students. During the summer of 2019, he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream when he was offered an internship with the Cable News Network (CNN) in Washington, D.C. The budding journalist worked on video packages for CNN Newsource, the network’s affiliate service which provides global coverage for events through media partnerships worldwide. Some of the events that Crawford helped to produce coverage for included the 75th D-Day Commemoration and Robert Mueller’s congressional hearings on Capitol Hill.
For Crawford, making these lasting memories is an important aspect of college, along with getting an education. “Combining the two can often times be challenging, but so worth it,” Crawford emphasizes.
Now an Honors College graduate, Crawford is still juggling multiple responsibilities – and staying in touch with the Mason community. He is currently attending graduate school for a master’s degree program in Strategic Communications at his alma mater, in addition to working full-time in the Norfolk Newsroom at WAVY-TV 10 (NBC News) as a Digital Content Producer. In his new role, Crawford works with reporters and community members to build stories and publish digital content online.
“For me, this has been a lifelong dream in the making. I am really excited to do what I’ve wanted to do for my whole life.”
The work he did in the Honors College help set him up for that success. With the belief that each person is their own best advocate, Crawford encourages all students to “take advantage of the resources” that Mason provides.
“There are so many unique academic and social resources for [students] here on campus, most of which are free of charge,” says Crawford. “[With] so many different ways to define success here at Mason, you are able to find your own success, which makes for a worthwhile college experience.”
His best piece of advice: “Understand what you want and do everything you can to chase that dream.”