Amanda Milkovits has been a newspaper reporter for 23 years and covering crime at The Providence Journal for 16 years. While at the state’s largest newspaper, she has written about sex trafficking of children, explored the trail of guns through Providence and battled for public records. If that’s not enough to make you think she’s a total bad ass, check out the picture of her rocking a bulletproof vest!
What women have most influenced/inspired you?
My great-grandmother is one of my inspirations. She was 19 when she came to this country from Latvia. She didn’t see a future for herself in the old country, besides marrying the middle-aged farmer who lived nearby. She made a life for herself in Boston as a cook, but she never saw her family again. She lived to be 101, so I was able to hear some of her stories. I think about the courage it took for her to come here, on her own, and take a chance. Outside of my family, I admire two trailblazing investigative journalists, Ida B. Wells and Nellie Bly.
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Don’t be so scared! Even mistakes, especially mistakes, will help you learn. I put myself through college, and there were many times that I wondered, “Am I going to make it?”. I learned from other accomplished journalists and writers, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside. Now, it surprises me when I go to speak to journalism classes and realize that students are learning from me.
What led you to become a part of the media industry?
I’ve always loved writing and, for me, newspapers are a way to tell stories, every day. You can’t have writers’ block when you’re on deadline for a daily paper -- well, you better not! As a journalist, I’m always learning from people and listening, and that turns into real-life stories with plots, dialogue, and characters.
Why do you love what you do/what motivates you?
It’s important for people to know what’s going on and to feel like they have influence. It’s important that they know their stories matter.
Are you where you thought you would be now when you were in college?
Yes! I’m always thinking about how to grow and get better because that’s part of life, but I’m definitely where I’d always hoped to be. Simply, I wanted to be a writer.
How does your formal education tie into what you do now?
My college education, particularly writing for the school newspaper, gave me the basic background. However, this is a career that you learn on the job. Looking back, I would have liked to major in something else to have expertise in other areas.
What are your hopes for the future of your industry?
I hope to see more women not only entering this industry but also leading it. There needs to be women in power, women directing, and women deciding what to investigate. You bring who you are to your job; women have a different viewpoint and different ideas for how to save journalism and, hopefully, newspapers.