White House Correspondent Inspires SHSU Students
By Cheval John
Compton was the main guest for the President’s Speaker Series, a semi-annual event that brings prominent leaders to the Sam Houston State University campus to bring a message of substance that will influence the student’s lives.
This year’s event was planned and produced by the Office of the President and Priority One Public Relations, a class within the Mass Communication Department that gives students “hands-on” experience in preparation for their future careers in public relations.
Many in the crowd felt that Compton was personable and humble even though she has covered seven U.S. Presidents for four decades as a reporter.
“I thought she was really good,” Mass Comm student Chelsie Homer said. “She seemed real and open.”
When SHSU President Dana Gibson, Ph.D, moderator along with Priority One faculty advisor Peter Roussel, asked about her thoughts on the students of Sam Houston, Compton shared her personal connection with the university that brought a round of applause.
“I’m married to Dr. William Stevenson Hughes,” Compton said. “He always tells me that he was named after his favorite great aunt by the name of Lizzie Stevenson, who was the great niece of the university, Sam Houston.”
Compton noted that the coverage of the White House has changed over the last 60 years.
“It has changed dramatically,” Compton said. “The instantaneous in technology has made it even harder for the evening news and newpapers because by the time you pick up the paper on your doorstep the next morning, everyone already knows it.
Compton shared her story of being the only broadcast reporter on board Air Force One during the 9/11 attacks and how it hit home for her when her eldest son’s fraternity brother was on the 91st floor in the first tower when the first plane hit.
“At that instant, a day that has been doomsday scenario with burning buildings, people fleeing, panic and terror had a human face,” Compton said. “The young man who got his internship with a fancy Wall Street company, never knew what hit him. I sat down and cried.”
After that brief moment, Compton stressed that no matter what line of work, whether it’s media or business, a person must be able to write.
“Writing is the single most important tool you can have in any career,” Compton said. “It’s a lifelong career growth.”
She also urged students to get an internship because it will allow them to find out if the field that they were pursuing, whether it’s business, teaching, etc. is what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
“An internship not only will show young people what is out there, but will even show them what they don’t want to do.”