Due to the Hall Network for Innovation in Public Policy, international relations major Ben Purper ’17 had an internship lined up before he graduated. Little did he know that his internship would lead to a paid position as a reporter for KVCR, the local National Public Radio station.
Having a long-standing interest in current events, Purper was attracted to the U of R’s International Relations program. “Most colleges don’t have an international relations major; they usually have political science with an emphasis in international affairs,” he says. “At the University of Redlands, my major was really interdisciplinary.”
During his sophomore year, Purper began writing for the student newspaper and developed an interest in writing about public policy and international affairs. By his senior year, Purper was tutoring students in the Writing Center and working on the Redlands Review, an on-campus literary magazine designed, written, and edited by students. “I became really passionate about journalism because I started to see why it was useful and necessary,” he says.
Purper’s combined interests ultimately led to his senior honors thesis on the 2009 Honduran coup d’état. “Analyzing over 200 different journalistic sources and articles to learn about this event and why it happened greatly improved my research skills,” he says. “There’s a lot of endurance that comes with combing through that many sources, which is something I continue to do when I’m reporting.”
When asked what he learned about himself during his time at the U of R, Purper admits he wasn’t academically passionate until he began working on his thesis. “Steve Wuhs was my thesis advisor, and he became a great mentor,” Purper says. “That project allowed me to discover how much I love doing research and see how a story can develop over six months.”
Although his career in journalism is just beginning, Purper is already looking to the future. “I’m hoping to do more field reporting,” he says. “Ultimately, I would love to get into reporting or producing internationally and working with translators and interpreters.”