Polly Irungu
Polly Irungu taking photos during a rainy 2020 New York Fashion Week
Degrees of Success

Recent UO graduates taking flight, creating bright futures, and defining success on their own terms

Story by Ed Dorsch


Polly Irungu

Polly Irungu

BA ’17 (journalism)
Digital Content Editor, New York Public Radio
Freelance photographer
Multimedia journalist
OkayAfrica’s 100 Women 2020 list

What’s it like to live in Brooklyn and work for The Takeaway, a morning radio news program carried by more than 250 stations nationwide?

“It’s a lot of moving parts,” says journalism graduate Polly Irungu.

Irungu’s day starts at 8:00 a.m., when she catches up on world events and checks social media. Throughout a bustling workday, she keeps productions moving, finds ways to engage listeners, and searches for the next great story.

Above all, says Irungu, being a digital content editor requires “a keen sense of news judgment. You have to be able to pick out stories and make sure you’re not just adding noise—that you’re adding value to the conversation.”

“I see journalism as a public service. Right now, there’s a lot of mistrust in the media, and we should focus on doing our work and doing it well. The trust will come back. I’m going to do my part.”

Sample image
“The School of Journalism and Communication taught me the fundamentals—storytelling, time management, working on deadlines. It all translates into what I’m doing now.”

Example portraits by Polly IrunguPolly Irungu, BA ’17 (journalism) took these photos during 2020 New York Fashion Week, which were published by Refinery29, a media and entertainment company focused on women with a global audience footprint of 249 million across all platforms.

Off the Job Experience

“Each internship experience played a pivotal role in shaping my career.”

As an undergraduate in the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication, Irungu made the most of the opportunities to learn beyond the classroom:

Sample image
Advice to UO students: “Once you figure out what you want to do, go for it. If you don’t try for something, you know you won’t get it. So you may as well take a shot. Trust your own path, with all its twists and turns. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing or when things don’t go exactly as you planned.”