Jenn Topper: Comm Alumna and Director of Communications for National Nonprofit

Jenn Topper (’06 B.S. Studio Art, ’07 M.A. Media and Communications Studies) is currently working in Washington D.C. as the Communications Director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The Reporters Committee provides pro bono legal representation to journalists and news organizations with the goal of protecting their First Amendment freedoms. Many times, stories are published because the Reporters Committee was able to win a case or release legal documents that were previously sealed.

Jenn and her husband Ian, representing Florida State in Washington, D.C.

As Communications Director, Topper is responsible for ensuring that the Committee’s message, “– that a robust free press is essential to an informed public –,” is being transmitted effectively. To do this, Topper and her team work directly with in-house attorneys to report about their work with reporters, freelancers, and newsrooms for, as well as share stories with outside news outlets for coverage.

“I often say that there is no typical day, and that’s one of the best parts of my job,” she says. Topper’s ever-changing schedule helps foster passion and excitement for her work.

Topper certainly found her niche in the Reporters Committee. She draws inspiration from the passion and commitment of her colleagues and the work they produce. She explains that the most rewarding part of her job is receiving the kind notes of thanks from journalists or news organizations that were able to benefit from the Reporters Committee’s services.

Even though Topper describes her current position as a “complete balance,” she wasn’t always sure of what she wanted to do in her career.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, a veterinarian, an actress, all sorts of things! But one constant was that I always loved to read and write,” she says. “You don’t always have to know what you want to do 5, 10, 20 years from now. People and circumstances are constantly changing, so be accepting that your goals can change, too.”

In fact, Topper credits a lot of her passion for her work to the courses she took while at Florida State University. “My education fostered a real passion for media policy and news, as well as the complexities of the law,” she says. “When I took the communication regulation and policy class, I was fascinated with the evolution of the law as technology changed.” This class sparked Topper’s interest in the field, and now she is able to use the skills she learned in school every day on the job.

Her advice to college students currently searching for their own passions is, “Slow down! You have the rest of your life to work, but you never get to experience college again.”