Indiana State University Newsroom

Media student working at Tribune Star upon graduating early

April 27, 2017

From reporter to editor to editor in chief, Marissa Schmitter has spent her college career focused on the media.

Schmitter, a native of Spencer, Ind., first wrote a column on the happenings at her small-town high school, Owen Valley, for the local paper.

"I've always known that I wanted to work in the news," said Schmitter. "I was in high school when I started writing. Once I got to Indiana State, I wanted to work in Student Media so that I could say I had experience once I graduated."

Schmitter began in Student Media during the fall of 2014 in her freshman year. During a call-out meeting for the Indiana Statesman newspaper in October, she was hired as a features reporter writing student interest stories.

"From October to February, I reported on features, then I moved up to the features editor until the end of that school year," Schmitter said. "I worked as the photo editor for the 2015-16 school year. Now I am the editor in chief."

Schmitter waited to join Student Media until October of her freshman year so that she could settle into college life.

"I knew media is the path I wanted to take, but I didn't want to burn out," said Schmitter. "I was still trying to get my bearings like any other freshman, so after move-in and the culture shock of college, it was time I started working on my career."

Martha Milner, the director of student publications at Indiana State University, met Schmitter during Schmitter's freshman year.

"When she began, she was quiet and reluctant to speak up, but now she is a strong leader as editor in chief," said Milner.

Of all of the work done in Student Media, Schmitter's favorite position has been editor in chief.

"Editor in chief is stressful but it's fun," said Schmitter. "You get a little bit of everything. I work with photography, read all of the articles, and put it all together with the design software."

Schmitter was hired at the Tribune Star newspaper in Terre Haute after seeing a job posting in an ISU journalism Facebook group, Sycamore Journalists.

Lori Henson, assistant professor of journalism, founded Sycamore Journalists to give students a place to share news and jobs outside of the classroom.

"I saw the job on Sycamore Journalists, and thought ‘This is literally perfect for me,'" Schmitter said. "I interviewed and got a job working in their design department."

Schmitter begins working fulltime at the Tribune Star after graduating early in May.

Like most first days, Schmitter was nervous about how fast-paced her new job would be and how formal the office was.

"The Tribune Star puts out a two-section paper every day, and the Statesman only does eight pages every three days, so the Trib Star is a lot faster-pace," said Schmitter. "Everyone was nice which was good to find out immediately because I was afraid that they would be a lot more formal because we are such a casual paper at the Statesman."

On her first day, Schmitter was pleased to find out that they used the same design software as the Statesman.

"The design software is the same but the content managing system is very different," said Schmitter. "I spent that first day trying to get the content managing system down. On my second day, they had me designing a whole section of the paper."

While her first day at the Tribune Star was filled with nerves, Milner said she believes Schmitter is up for the challenge.

"Marissa has a quiet strength about her," Milner said. "She deals with people in a way that builds trust and confidence. She doesn't show anxiety or stress which makes people feel that everything will be fine."In Schmitter's three years of college, Henson said she has seen Schmitter become a confident leader.

"She comes across as shy and quiet, but in the past three years I have seen her confidence build," said Henson. "She has also gained a great deal of leadership experience and knowledge about the community as editor-in-chief of the Indiana Statesman. I could not be more proud of all that she has accomplished."With guidance from her coworkers, Schmitter is confident she will succeed at the Tribune Star.

"If I did not work at the Statesman, I would not have this job," said Schmitter. "People who don't join Student Media won't get jobs as easily. They won't have the same hands-on experience at their own pace."

Media contact: Morgan Gallas, Strategic Communication Specialist, Student Media, Indiana State University, (219) 246-1805 or