From J-School to the mayor’s office: One Northeastern graduate’s journey

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Samantha Ormsby, the press secretary for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, recently visited Northeastern University to discuss her journey from studying journalism to working in public relations.

Ormsby, who has a degree in journalism from Northeastern, spoke to students at “Pizza, Press, and Politics,” a weekly speaker series sponsored by the Northeastern University School of Journalism.

After spending two years at Westfield State University, Ormsby transferred to Northeastern where she completed two paid six-month internships working in public relations.

Ormsby’s first internship was in the office of former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. While working there, Ormsby discovered “the tremendous impact that government can play in people’s lives.” She found the work to be very gratifying.

After graduating, Ormsby joined Martha Coakley’s election campaign as she ran against Gov. Charlie Baker. There Ormsby discovered the “grueling lifestyle” that accompanies a campaign. Ormsby spent her days staffing events around the state and responding to press inquiries.

This is similar to the job that she holds today as press secretary for the mayor. She works every day with members of the media as they reach out to the mayor’s office for information. It’s also part of her job to be “actively telling the press what (the mayor’s office is) doing.” One of the most important aspects of her job is telling the press what the mayor thinks and believes because transparency is an important priority in Walsh’s organization, she said.

In addition to the reporters that are embedded in the mayor’s office, Ormsby is constantly looking for new ways to connect with the public to share Walsh’s message. Recently, she reported that there has been a rise in the amount of Boston news blogs that her office follows and contributes to. This counterbalances some of the diminished media presence in the city as several local newspapers have been hollowed out or ceased publication.

Anna Macek studies journalism at Northeastern University.

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