Alumni Spotlight: Nia Decaille

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In April of 2017, Nia Decaille ​​​​15, scrolled though Facebook and came across a post for a job that sparked her interest.  

The Washington Post was looking for an audience producer. A role in online journalism is exactly what she was looking for so she applied.

“They kept calling me back throughout that whole process and I was kind of surprised every time,” Decaille said.

After several months went by, she got a call from a random number. She got the job. 

When she applied she used the skills learned in B.J. Roche’s Entrepreneurial Journalism course. Roche was Decaille’s mentor throughout college. 

“B.J. Roche is such a boss,” she said. Roche taught her how to fix her resume, pitch herself and market her skills. 

Decaille’s job as an audience producer is to ensure The Washington Post’s stories are being well optimized. Decaille said she uses traffic scans and data analysis to see which stories were doing well. 

“[The journalism department] did a really good job of telling us how to think about stories and [think about] what is worth really putting out there,” she said. “Facts and good reporting will always matter especially in this country.” 

Decaille credits her success to her determination, which she acquired as an undergraduate. “Journalism is about people so you have to get out there and speak to people and not be afraid to be told, ‘No’ because as a journalist you are told, ‘No’ a lot,” she said.

In college, Decaille didn’t have a competitive internship at a news organization.

“At a certain point I did feel like maybe journalism wasn’t for me,” she said. She remembers one time when she applied to an internship she really wanted and didn’t get it, she asked herself, “Does this mean I will never end up in digital journalism? Does this mean I won’t have the chops to make it out there?” 

“When I look back at it now it’s hilarious because of where I am now,” she said. 

Decaille had her proudest days at The Washington Post when she worked during the 2018 U.S. Elections. “I never thought that I would be here at one of the biggest newspapers in the country working the election,” she said. Recently, Decaille took on a new role at The Washington Post as audience editor. She joins a team focused on finding new ways to tell stories and reach audiences.

“If you are a journalism student at UMass and you have taken the classes and put forward the effort you will definitely be prepared for what is going on out here.”