Lights, Camera, Action! Leah Britton Discusses How Broadcast Journalism Led to her Role Reporting on the Arizona State Legislature

Feb. 2, 2024
Leah Britton in an orange top, standing in front of trees

Leah Britton is a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in journalism with an emphasis in broadcast journalism and a minor in American Sign Language. She was recently selected as the 2024 Don Bolles Fellow and will soon begin a job reporting on the Arizona State Legislature in Phoenix. In this Q&A, she talks about leaving her comfort zone and being inspired. 

When deciding to attend UArizona, what stood out to you about the school and the community that made you feel connected?

I still remember coming to campus for the first time and falling in love with everything about it. Coming from New Jersey, the 70-degree “winter weather” was appealing on its own, but what really got me was the lively atmosphere. Just walking through campus, I saw so many students outside, hanging out, getting pumped for a basketball game. It clicked for me — I wanted to be part of that scene. It felt like the kind of place where good times were just waiting to happen.

How did you decide to pursue the broadcast journalism path?

Going for broadcast was a bit like taking a leap of faith for me. I didn't have much experience from high school, and the whole on-camera thing was totally new to me when I decided on my major. Still, there was this gut feeling that told me it was worth a shot. When I discovered how genuinely excited I was about it after getting to try things with UATV, there was this huge sigh of relief. It became clear – this was something I wanted to dive into, something I wanted to get better at and eventually find my own groove in.

What are you most curious about in the world of journalism and what sparked that interest? 

My passion has always been about giving a voice to those within communities that are often sidelined or neglected. It's the driving force behind my reporting. I tend to focus on issues within my own communities or those around me that have broader implications, shaping my storytelling around them. This might mean diving into social issues and reform, but it could also involve covering current events, featuring individuals or companies making a positive impact, or exploring the origins of the latest trends. I've found that having a mission to accomplish, rather than just a beat to cover, keeps my job consistently interesting and fulfilling for me.

Please talk about the reporting opportunity you recently accepted with the Arizona State Legislature. How did this opportunity present itself to you?

I was selected as the 2024 Don Bolles Fellow, so I will be spending this semester up in Phoenix reporting on the Arizona State Legislature for the Arizona Mirror. I found out about the opportunity through the weekly School of Journalism listserv and applied. As a broadcast emphasis, I really wanted to spend my last semester at UArizona stepping outside of my comfort zone. So, when I got the chance to take my interest in political coverage to the next level through the training and practice that comes with this fellowship, I jumped at it!

How do you plan to use this experience to help make political coverage more representative of its readers?

I really do see myself as the average reader, and I find that so much political coverage does not keep in mind that some people are just not as familiar with how local government systems work as we are as reporters. I hope to offer a simpler look at these systems so that anyone and everyone can stay informed on what is happening inside those chambers.

Who do you look up to in your professional life? Why does this person inspire you?

I'm truly captivated by Issa Rae. The moment I tuned into her show, Insecure, it hit me — finally, characters who not only resemble me but also speak and live like me, enjoying remarkable success. Issa's all about not putting yourself in a box and taking those artistic leaps of faith. She's like a living reminder that the sky's the limit.

What are your career goals moving forward? How has your journalism degree prepared you for such endeavors?

Moving forward, I am so excited to dive into the broadcasting field after graduation. In my time at UATV, I really grew to enjoy producing and I look forward to getting more experience with that, as well as eventually getting back on air. I am hoping that my new experience focused on my writing, paired with what I have learned about broadcasting over the years, will prepare me for a fulfilling career in front of or behind the camera.