Putting It To Practice – EC Alumni Spotlight on Ricco Holston

EC alumnus, Ricco Holston ’15 became interested in media at a young age, but wasn’t sure if a career in storytelling would be in his future. He learned how to operate a camera at church, where he shot video during services, however, it wasn’t until he came to Emmanuel in 2011 as a Digital Media Production major that he learned how to use a camera to tell a story. 

“I go back to my Storytelling class with Mr. Ross, or even some of the classes Ms. Benson taught about movies and films,” he remembers. “I learned that you could tell a lot with a camera.”

As a student, Ricco stayed busy.  He walked on to the Track & Field team as a freshman and was involved with the worship team, as a drummer and a member of the choir. He also went on a mission trip to Nashville, TN with a group from Emmanuel to work with a ministry named, Mission 615, where they served the homeless of Nashville. 

Ricco began his career as a production assistant at a station in Macon, Ga. where he learned the basics and grew into his role. 

“While I was there, I realized I could be good at this,” he remembered. “I started sharing my work through visual storytelling and being creative.”

After a stop in Tallahassee, FL, Ricco recently took a position as a photojournalist for WRCB Local 3 News in Chattanooga, TN. 

Throughout his career, Ricco has covered multiple local, regional, and national events. For him, covering the protest in Tallahassee following what happened to George Floyd was the most eye-opening. 

“As a member of the media, I want to be as professional as possible, as the media can give off a negative vibe for multiple reasons,” he said. “Because of what happened to George Floyd, people took to the streets of Tallahassee, and our news director wanted us to cover these stories. I saw everything happening before me, anger, people trying to help control the situation, etc. My reporter and I were in the middle of it all, trying to keep from getting pepper sprayed, ran over, etc. Although I was doing my job, this is our reality now. These are hard situations that people have to deal with.”

What’s on his bucket list of events to cover?

“There are so many things I could do with media, but I think it would be cool to cover a Super Bowl or National Championship game. That, or covering the President or a nationally televised event.”

If he could give a piece of advice to students interested in entering the news industry, he would say to first pray about it. 

“It’s a good career, but you need to know that every newsroom is not the same, so find your best fit. Second, set goals that you want to achieve. Sometimes things won’t play out how you expect them to, but if you see yourself making progress, it’s worth it.”

One reminder he’d share is that photojournalists are reporters, too. 

“You’re telling stories from a visual point of view, you’re helping reporters with their packages and helping write at times,” he said. “Think of where your interests lie and put it into practice daily. Improve on that skill so you can be dependable in that job.”

The last piece of advice Ricco shared was about the importance of connections and experience. 

“Connections help you get your foot in the door,” he said. “It’s important for students to have connections in their field, to look ahead for internships, as early as freshman year. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help, and don’t settle for anything. We all have a purpose, there something you can do out there, and that can “possibly” lead you to a successful future.”

Click here to view some of Ricco’s most recent work!