Cougar grad ‘Surviving’ TV

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    By Angela Wallace

    With one tribal council under her belt, former BYU broadcast student Ashlee Ashby headed back to camp in Palau, South Pacific, for the first time at the close of her debut episode on ?Survivor.?

    After swimming to shore in the first few minutes of the show, Ashby was selected to the Ulong tribe, which lost the first challenge of the season.

    Joining the Survivor squad of 20 outcasts wasn?t the first experience this Easley, South Carolina native had in front of a camera. Ashby finished her stint of broadcast journalism at BYU last fall and used her skills to take a chance against thousands of applicants.

    ?I talked to her on the phone the other day,? said Bob Walz, BYU associate professor of broadcast journalism. ?She?s in South Carolina and can?t talk about [the show]. I think she had a lot of experience in broadcast and probably had a good audition tape and sent it in.?

    Not only did Ashby work in BYU?s newsroom, Walz said she also interned at Channel 4. It was there she began to more fully enjoy broadcast journalism.

    ?I remember she came into my office and said ?I hate this major. I don?t know about it.? But I told her she needed to experience a real newsroom at Channel 4, and she changed her mind and loved this job.?

    With her degree and some national exposure, Ashby may find some new opportunities in this field. In fact, Walz said it may easily help her broadcast career.

    ?We?re proud of her,? he said. ?She said that lots of people are calling her and trying to be her friend, especially if she wins the million dollars. It will be interesting to see how this will launch her career in broadcast journalism.?

    With her BYU accomplishments posted online on her Survivor profile, attention may also surround the university, whether it be negative or positive.

    Due to the nature of the show, modesty will definitely be an issue for Ashby as she will work to stay on an island week after week.

    ?I hope she will be able to uphold her standards,? said Ashley Dickson, a broadcast major from Ashburn, Virginia. ?She says on her profile that her greatest accomplishment is graduating from seminary. We?ll just hope for the best.?

    In the first episode, Ashby wore a green colored shirt with khaki shorts that reached her knees. With this hope for a good example of standards, Walz echoed Dickson?s attitude.

    ?I hope as a BYU graduate, she does this right,? Walz said. ?There?s not a good display of womanhood of that show, and I hope she has more character than others. Through our friendship, I know she has a strong character. I will be surprised if that doesn?t come through.?

    While several other BYU students have been in the limelight before, one perhaps stood out too negatively, especially to this those on this campus.

    ?I remember the BYU girl on the ?Real World? show,? said Carly Johnston, a broadcast major from American Fork. ?She trashed our reputation, and I?m hoping [Ashlee] won?t do the same.?

    With Survivor airing every Thursday night, BYU and television viewers alike can follow Ashby as she continues her journey on the silver screen and possibly showing more of her personality.

    ?She was a very bubbly, fun and well-liked girl, especially at Channel 4,? Walz said. ?If it?s any indication too, she got an ?A? in my 425 advanced reporting class.?

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