Alumni give back to journalism students through clothing donations

Professional clothes help student broadcasters match industry standards as they gain hands-on experience.

lots of clothes on hangers

Dec. 9, 2020

Knowing how expensive it is to buy professional clothes such as blazers and slacks for first broadcasting jobs inspired countless Missouri School of Journalism alumni to step up and help provide students professional clothes for their first job at KOMU-TV.

Alumni from across the U.S. have been sending in donations of gently-used clothing for the “KOMU Closet.” The new initiative is an effort to help students dress to appear "on-air," said Assistant Professor Kellie Stanfield, an executive producer at KOMU who is helping organize the closet.

Stanfield said although students aren’t required to wear blazers, they are strongly encouraged to wear professional clothing like blazers, which are industry standard. As soon as she put out the appeal earlier this fall, Stanfield’s office has overflowed with boxes from alumni wanting to help.

Alumni Laura Barnett drove boxes of suit jackets in a rainbow of colors that were just sitting in her closet, as well as a box of donations from another alumni member.

“I remember being in [the students’] shoes and my choices were my black suit or my black suit,” she said. “Being able to give Mizzou’s broadcast students something that will make their reels shine is a great way to pay forward my success.”

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