By: Rachael Andrews
Eric Jones (AB, ‘12) is a producer at Good Morning America in New York City, but he began his journey at UGA, with a double major in digital broadcast journalism and political science, and high expectations for himself.
Jones describes himself as an overachiever, who always wanted the best for himself–including the best opportunities for internships in both political science and broadcast journalism.
He credits the Washington Semester Program he participated in through SPIA as a gateway for the opportunities that eventually led him to Good Morning America. While in the program, Jones landed an internship with the White House, and specifically, in the East Wing, where the First Lady—then Michelle Obama—conducted her business.
“[That was the] best six months of my entire life, to this day,” Jones says. “I won’t say that I was with her everyday, but to be able to see her on occasion and to support what this phenomenal woman and figure in our nation’s history stood for was really amazing.”
“As an African-American male from Vidalia, Georgia, I had to pinch myself sometimes,” he continues. “Everyone thought that this woman could save or solve anything.”
During his time in the White House, Jones was able to help with major events such as the White House Easter Egg Roll, ‘The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House’ concert, the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony. “To support [her office] in any small way as an intern really changed my life,” Jones says.
While Jones was in Washington, he was also applying for media internships. He applied for the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) summer fellowship, an all-expense paid summer in New York City while interning for a media company. At the time of his application, he was not able to disclose any information regarding his internship at the White House, due to the sensitivity of the information he was privy to.
“I’ll never forget when the [IRTS] interviewer asked, ‘How do I know that you, from a small town in Georgia, can move to New York City and live and work?’” Jones remembers. He was then able to describe his experience in Washington DC, as well as briefly explain his internship at the White House. Jones believes his experience through the Washington Semester Program may have helped him land the fellowship. He was then paired with a recruiter from ABC through the fellowship and was placed at Good Morning America.
After his summer fellowship ended, Jones returned to UGA and kept in contact with his recruiter throughout his senior year. After graduation, there was a position open at Good Morning America, where he has climbed up the ladder ever since.
As for what he loves most about his job? “No two days are the same,” Jones answers, “[It’s the] most surprising and rewarding part of this job and allows me to learn and grow every day.”
Jones attributes some of his success to the community and friendship that he felt at UGA. “I met so many different people from diverse backgrounds, learned how to build relationships, and be involved while working and going to school,” Jones says. “So it didn’t seem like a big deal to be planted in a different environment [in Washington and New York] and be able to navigate and succeed.”
Jones has some advice for current UGA students and future professionals, as well. “Enjoy life and enjoy college; you have to walk a balance.”
“What you’ve done so far has prepared you for what’s next, so make friends and have fun,” Jones concludes, “As long as you put in the work and the preparation, the door will open.”