FGCU alumna Kalhan Rosenblatt has been making news in the five years since she graduated. Literally.
Rosenblatt, 30, graduated in spring 2015 as a journalism major. During her time at FGCU, she joined Eagle News, the student newspaper, eventually becoming its editor-in-chief while also writing for Naples Daily News.
“At the time, I was really ambitious and just so happy that I had the opportunity to do both things,” Rosenblatt said. “I wouldn’t say this is the best route for everyone, but it was the best route for me because I loved what I was doing.”
Rosenblatt has dedicated her career to covering topics such as racial and minority issues, youth activism and internet culture. She explored activism in the wake of the 2018 Parkland shooting and the impact of social media sites such as TikTok on current situations.
“When my coverage started moving in the direction of more specific beats, I first started with the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. I thought it would be a good fit for me to continue with covering young people,” Rosenblatt said. “Eventually my editors noticed my passion for internet culture such as memes and viral videos. They suggested that I cover that for a little while and it was a marriage made in heaven.”
For her early fieldwork, she won three first-place student awards in the 2015 Society of Professional Journalists Florida Pro Chapter Sunshine State Awards. Rosenblatt views these as validation of her work.
Shortly after she graduated, she landed a job with the Daily Mail and went to London to train with the company for six months. The company also sent her to work on loan in Wales at Media Wales. “It was a challenging experience because the Daily Mail is a British publication; they have a different style from what I learned,” Rosenblatt said. “It was a real culture shock, but part of being a journalist requires you to be able to pick up things quickly and adapt.”
Along with adapting to new writing styles, Rosenblatt faced personal challenges during her time overseas. “It was hard to be far away. My mom was sick with cancer at the time. I had no family, no friends; it was just a very isolating time,” Rosenblatt said. Her mother died from ovarian cancer in May 2019. However, she believes that she is much stronger today following these circumstances that she faced early in her career.
Following her time abroad, Rosenblatt moved back to New York City, where she now lives, to work in the Daily Mail’s office there. She moved to NBC News in 2016, starting as a social media editor. In 2018, she was covering youth and activism as a beat reporter for NBCNews.com. In the following year, her beat refocused to covering youth and internet culture. Throughout 2019 she made multiple appearances on the digital show “NBC News Now” to cover older people, video games and coronavirus.
By 2020, she worked her way up to making national broadcast appearances to discuss internet culture. Rosenblatt talked about President Trump’s proposed TikTok app ban for her debut appearances on NBC Nightly News and MSNBC. She also earned weekly spots on the national channel NBCLX and NBC News’ Snapchat show, “Stay Tuned.”
“If you would’ve told me when I first started at NBC News that my trajectory would be to go from social media to TV, I would’ve said ‘no way,’” Rosenblatt said.
She did not envision broadcasting or social media in her future when she began her career at FGCU. She dreamed of working in print for The New York Times. She does not regret the change in direction and is grateful for the help she received from editors and colleagues at NBC News. When she first started there, Rosenblatt constantly stayed hours after work, driven to improve. She credits her editor, Hasani Gittens, for mentoring her and helping her get to where she is today.
Rosenblatt looks back fondly on her time at FGCU and is thankful for what she gained here. She recalls learning how much of a team effort journalism is and the leadership skills required to succeed in the field. She says that the mentorship of journalism professors Judson Cribbs and Lyn Millner, as well as the Eagle News’ then-advisor, Keith Gibson, were responsible for instilling in her the confidence she needed to become a successful journalist.
“I think so highly of the J-school (journalism department) at FGCU and recommend it to anybody,” Rosenblatt said. “I’m so proud of that little program and how far it has come. I encourage other people to get involved in it because it’s truly life-changing.”
- Read Kahlan Rosenblatt’s latest work at NBCNews.com
—Tyler Watkins is a junior majoring in journalism at FGCU who works with University Marketing & Communications