André Walker, who graduated spring 2021 with a master’s degree in communication, made good use of his time in Georgia State University’s Journalism department.
Walker returned to college, in 2016, after leaving in 2004 to handle some personal matters. He quickly learned that modern journalism required multifaceted journalists. Under the instruction of professors like Donna Krache and Douglas Metcalfe, André learned how to produce, film, and edit his own stories. Two years later, as he completed his undergraduate studies at Georgia State, André earned his first Emmy nomination.
Not content to rest on his laurels, André enrolled in graduate school to perfect his craft and become a better multimedia journalist. He continued to produce and edit several stories for GSUTV, even as the global COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.
André’s determination to keep producing, against the odds, caught the eye of CNN. Walker gained an internship at the cable news network, beating out thousands of applicants from around the world. He worked in the documentary unit, learning even more about developing and producing stories that entertains, informs, and inspires.
His CNN supervisors recognized André’s talent, and decided to nurture it further.
WarnerMedia chose Walker to participate in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gold Rising program.
Gold Rising is a talent development, diversity and inclusion initiative designed to enhance internship experiences under the Academy brand. Walker was one of only 75 students selected from across the globe to participate in this exclusive program.
André continues to be mentored by an Oscar-nominated director, as part of the program.
This year, as he finished his master’s coursework, André adopted new form of journalism; mobile journalism, or stories filmed with a smartphone.
He used this new skill to produce and edit many pieces for student media on-campus. André launched “Finding Fayette,” a series for Neo Network that features people and local events in Fayette County, Georgia. He also created “Signal in a Minute,” a show for the Georgia State Signal newspaper that summarizes the weekly news impacting the Georgia State University community.
One of André’s pieces for the Signal, “A Soldier’s Story at the U.S. Capitol”, won a Telly Award.
“A Soldier’s Story” spotlights National Guard soldier Brycen Garland, and his experience serving in the nation’s capital during the 2021 inauguration. Garland shares how he and members of his unit had to mentally prepare for the possibility that they might have to shoot American citizens to keep the peace.
André’s journey is not traditional by any measure. Life threw him a curve. Still, Walker stands as a shining example of how resilience and hard work pays off.